Budget Beauty Products

Well, this is an unusual post for me. Whilst, I’ve never written a beauty based post before (and this will probably be the only one I do write), I am in fact a tad obsessed with beauty products, specifically skincare products. However, after giving up my career, I have had to scale back on how much I spend on beauty products. So after several years of trial and error and my unhealthy obsession with finding the best cheap beauty products available, here’s a list of all the best affordable buys out there. I strongly believe you can find beauty products cheaply that are as effective as a more expensive product. Did you know the beauty industry deems anything under £25 as budget? I’m more of an under £10 kind of gal, but as everyone’s idea of “budget” varies, I’ve done three categories for each section, products £10 or under, products £20 or under and one pricier treat (because we all deserve a treat sometimes). Apart from a couple examples, I’ve still tried to make the pricier treats fairly affordable. All products can be bought in the UK and some can be bought in the USA too. For information, my skin type is normal to dry.

BEST CLEANSERS (I find hot cloth cleansing is the most effective way of getting your skin sparkling clean. Hot cloth cleansing is where you apply the cleansing product on dry skin and wash off with a face cloth- as hot as your skin can stand. Most of the below products come with cloths or you can just use any ole flannel, which is actually my preference)

£10 or under:

  • Superdrug Vitamin E Hot Cloth Cleanser (£4.99)IMG_8067
  • Superdrug Naturally Radiant Hot Cloth Cleanser (£5.99)
  • Superfacialist Rose Hydrate Cleanser (£7.99)
  • No.7 Hot Cloth Cleanser (Usually £10, but with the £5 voucher you often receive in store, this is only £5 and lasts forever)

£20 or under:

  • Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser (15)
  • Balance Me Restore & Replenish (£18)
  • Clarins Pure Melt Cleansing Gel (£20)

Pricier Treat

  • Elemis Pro-Radiance Cream Cleanser (£29.50)



No.7 Lift & Luminate Serum

£10 or under:

  • Superdrug Simply Pure Hydrating Serum (£2.99)

£20 or under:

  • Body Shop Vitamin E Moisture Serum (£11)
  • Vichy Aqualia Thermal Serum (£17.50)
  • L’Oreal Revitalift Renew Hyaluronic Replumping Serum (19.99)

Pricier treat:

  • No.7 Lift Luminate (£27)


£10 or under:


Superdrug Simply Pure Hydrating Night Serum

  • Superdrug Simply Pure Hydrating Night serum (£3.99)

£20 or under:

  • Body Shop Vitamin E Overnight serum-in-oil (£16.99)

Pricer treat:

  • Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronised Recovery Comlex II (£53- yeah I know)


£10 or under:

  • Simple Regeneration Day Cream Age Resisting SPF15 (£5.99)
  • Superdrug Naturally Radiant Brightening Day Cream SPF15 (£5.99)

£20 or under:

  • Body Shop Vitamin C SPF30 (£13)
  • Superdrug Optimum PhytoDeluxe Day Cream SPF15 (£14.99)
  • Anew Reversalist Complete SPF25 (£16)
  • Olay Total Effect SPF15 (£16.99)

Pricer Treat:

  • Clarins Hydra Quench SPF15 (£34)


£10 or under:

  • The Ordinary Natural Moisturising Factors + HA (£4.90)

£20 or under:

  • Body Shop Vitamin E Moisturiser (£13)
  • Face Theory Regenerating Moisturiser (£13.99)

Pricier treat:

  • Clinique Dramatically Different Lotion £30


£10 or under:

  • Superdrug Naturally Radiant Renewing Night Cream (£5.99)
  • My Trusty Sunflower Oil (£7.99)
  • Superfacialist Rose Peaceful Skin (£9.99)

£20 or under:


M&S Formula Night Cream


  • Body Shop Vitamin E (£13)
  • Weleda Wild Rose Night Cream (£15)
  • Anew Reversalist Renewal Night Cream (£16)
  • Anew Reversalist Infinite Effects Night Treatment (£19.95)


Pricier treat:

  • M&S Formula Absolute Ultimate Sleep Cream (£22)

EYE GEL/CREAM (at night I just use my night cream around my eyes and it’s absolutely fine. I do like to use a gel in the mornings though)


Boots Essentials Eye Gel

£10 or under:

  • Boots Essentials Cucumber Gel (£1.52)
  • Body Shop Elderflower Cooling Gel (£7)

Pricer treat:

  • Clinique All About Eyes (£27)

EXFOLIATING TONER (forget normal toners, they’re the biggest waste of time and money. Just splash your face with cold water instead and use an exfoliating toner twice a week or so before serum)

£10 or under:

  • Superdrug Naturally Radiant Glycolic Acid Toner (£5.99)
  • Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting BHS Liquid Exfolliant (£8)
  • Derma E Refining Vit A Glycolic Toner (£9.60)

£20 or under:


Clarins Exfolliater Toner

  • REN Clarimatte Clarifying Toner (£15)
  • Pixi Glow Tonic (£18)
  • Aveda Botanical Kinetics Exfolliant (£18)
  • FAB Facial Radiance Pads (£20)

Pricer treat:

  • Clarins Gentle Exfolliater Brightening (£25)


£10 or under:

  • Simple Deep Cleansing (£4.39)
  • Dr.Organic Rose Otto (£7.99)


    Dr. Organic Rose Ottot Face Mask

  • Body Shop Warming Mineral Mask (£10)

Pricer Treat:

  • Origins Original Skin Retexturing Rose Clay Mask (£23)


£10 or under:

  • Garnier Hydralock Moisturing Milk (£5.65)
  • Neutrogena Deep Moisturing Lotion (£7.65)
  • Yes to Carrots C Smooth Body Moisturing Lotion (£8)
  • Body Shop Almond Milk & Honey (£8.50)

No £20 or pricier treat suggestions for body lotions as the ones above are superior to any more expensive ones that I have ever tried.



Balance Me Hand Cream

£10 or under:

  • Dr Organic Bioactive Skincare Manuka Honey (£5.69)
  • L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream (£8)

£20 or under:

  • Liz Earle Hand Repair (£10.50)
  • Balance Me Super Moisturising Hand Cream (£14.50)

Pricier treat:

  • Aromatherapy Rose Hand Cream (£23)


£10 or under:

  • Vaseline Lip Therapy (£1.99)


    Vaseline Limited Edition Lip Therapy

  • Maybelline Baby Lips Lip Balm (£2.99)

£20 or under:

  • Lanolips 101 Ointment (£10.99)
  • Clinique Super Balm (£12)
  • Clarins Hydra Quench Moisture Lip Balm (£19)

No pricier treat. I think £19 for a lip balm is pricey enough.


£10 or under:

  • Palmolive Naturals (£1.00)
  • Dove Silk Body Wash (£2.55)
  • Yes How to Carrots Nourishing Body Wash (£4.99)
  • Body Shop Almond Milk & Honey (£5)
  • Soaper Duper Vanilla Shea or Passion Fruit (£6.50)
  • Mandala Spa Shower Cream Balti Santi (£7)

£20 or under:

  • Clarins Tonic Bath & Shower Concentrate (£20)

No pricier treat for shower gels as I just cannot justify spending a lot of money on a shower gel.


£10 or under:

  • Radox Original (£1.99)
  • Waitress Ginger & Clementine (£1.99)
  • Good Things Manuka Honey (£3.49)
  • Body Shop Wild Aragon Oil (£8)

£20 or under:

  • Body Shop Almond Milk & Honey (£12)

Pricier treat:

  • Mio Liquid Yoga Restorative Bath Soak (£26)

Budget beauty tip: When your products start to feel empty, get your scissors out and cut that baby open. You’ll be surprised how much more product is there dwindling at the bottom of the bottle/tube. I never throw away a beauty product that feels empty without cutting it in half first. You’ll save plenty of pennies doing this.



Top Ten Tunes- 1989

Every Friday, I’m publishing my top ten songs from a single year and this week it’s the turn of 1989.

For previous top ten tunes, please click on the year: 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019


Protester in Tiananmen Square

1989 was a pretty horrific year, Boeing 737 crashes into the M1 killing 44 people, a fatwa (order to kill) is placed on author Salman Rushdie following the publication of his book the Satanic Verses, the IRA bomb army barracks in Shropshire injuring 50 soldiers, Sheffield dock workers go on strike, a pleasure cruiser collides with a barge on the River Thames killing 51 people, Princess Royal and Captain Mark Phillips separate, the IRA bomb the Royal Marine School of Music in Kent killing 11 people, the Church of England vote to allow the ordination of women, the House of Commons is televised for the first time, George Bush Snr becomes president of the United States, the Berlin Wall comes down, Margaret Thatcher along with George Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev hail the end of the Cold War, thousands of students occupy Tiananmen Square protesting for democracy- several hundreds or thousands (final figure never confirmed) are shot dead by the Chinese army and 96 football fans are killed and 766 injured in a crush at the FA cup semi-finals between Nottingham Forrest and Liverpool at Hillsborough stadium.

When Harry Met Sally and Glory were released. I celebrated entering my teenage years (I very much doubt my parents celebrated this though).


Mate, this post was originally going to be a top 15 tunes as I simply couldn’t decide on a final top 10, but at the last minute I decided to be ruthless and have somehow narrowed it down to 10 (sorry Martika but you had to go in the end). So, here in no particular order, is my most tricky year to decide on so far- 1989…

1.Back to Life (However Do You Want Me) by Soul II Soul


2. Ride on Time by Black Box


So this was the Italian model that Black Box pretended was their singer when in fact it was British soul singer Heather Small’s vocals on their records. It was kind of a Milli Vanilli/Phoebe Buffay move.

3. Baby I Don’t Care by Transvision Vamp


4. Poison by Alice Cooper


5. The Best by Tina Turner


6. Sowing the Seeds of Love by Tears for Fears


7. Sweet Child O’ Mine by Guns N’ Roses (ok so the below video is not from 1989. Nor is it obviously, Guns N’ Roses, but I just wanted an excuse to play a clip from one of my favourite ever comedy films Step Brothers…“you don’t even look good while you’re singing”).


8. Like a Prayer by Madonna

9. Eternal Flame by the Bangles


10. This Woman’s Work by Kate Bush


Hands down, my favourite year so far, but my favourite of the lot is still an easy choice this week. My second favourite song ever, Like a Prayer wins (my very favourite was in year 1979). So, which one is your favourite from these 1989 songs? And reading the news sections, aren’t you starting to get the feeling that it’s always been a bit rubbish and that it really isn’t just our present times?

See you next week for the start of the NINETIES!




The School Run Game

Guess what gang? I’ve invented a new board game. It’s called (just in case you didn’t discern this from the title of this post) The School Run Game. Yes, it’s a board game based on getting your little darlings to school on time. The game will come with little mum or dad shaped counters that will smack of existential angst. There’ll also be a dice that you throw to see what fate you and the light of your life will meet during the school run. Now  until the game gets the final approval from Hasbro*, I’m sharing below all the fun you can come across during the The School Run Game. With a handy dice, a pen and paper and some dried up raisins for counters you could probably play the game at home right now. Enjoy!

School sign.jpg.gallery

  • You bark at child until they have their coat on (never done up), shoes on (probably on wrong feet) and hopefully with their school bag. Excellent start (go forward one place)
  • You leave the house at 8:40am and it’s perfectly dry. Torrential downpour commences at 8:41am & continues until 9:10am when it suddenly becomes perfectly dry and sunny again. (Swear under breath)
  • See a parent ahead that you can’t be bothered to have a conversation with. You walk really slowly so that you don’t catch up with them (go back one place)
  • Look behind you and see lots of parents you know well enough to have a conversation with, but notice that they’re all walking really slowly and probably won’t catch up with you (Cry inside)
  • It’s winter, you’re in the UK, it’s icy, you slip and land on your arse. You sit and cry and seriously consider commando crawling all the way to school (miss a turn)
  • Your child slips on ice and lands on their arse. You yank them back up, tell them they’re fine and march on regardless. You ain’t going to be late for school again and a little slip on the ice isn’t going to delay you (go forward one space)
  • A little shit A small child whizzes past you on their scooter, whacking your hand as they do so (which fucking kills) and then they suddenly stop in front of you, causing you to suddenly stop in your tracks and you put your left knee out (go back two places)**
  • You arrive at the school gates and conveniently there’s an impromptu game of football taking place RIGHT BY THE GATES. The football naturally whacks you on your head, knocks your glasses off and you yell at no one in particular (go back one place)
  • Inside the school gates, you see a member of the PTA looking hopefully in your direction. You pull a speedy, dodging move that the best rugby players in the word would be in admiration of (go forward two places)
  • You see your favourite school mum and literally skip towards them for a gossip pleasant chat (go forward three places)
  • Your child falls and lands in a muddy puddle. The twat. (miss a turn)
  • Your child has an argument with another child and no one can understand what it’s about. And nobody ever does…(go back one place)
  • You get caught up in a horde of active wear mums about to go on a group run (go back two places)
  • Whilst waiting for the school to open, you get stuck with the playground bore describing in minute detail their plans for the day (Cry inside again)
  • You forgot your child’s pack lunch, you absolute bellend (go back to the start)
  • Your child for absolutely no explicable reason decides that they don’t want to go to school today and they start crying. Between you and the teacher pushing them into the classroom, you managed it. You’re heartbroken, beaten up, traumatised, but you got your child to school on time whilst keeping them alive. Congratulations. You win.

*Hasbro are actually yet to learn of my brilliant idea

**Feel free to read my further thoughts on fucking scooters here

Celebrities In London

Actual photo of me on the school run

Top Ten Tunes- 1988

Every Friday, I’m publishing my top ten songs from a single year and this week it’s the turn of 1988.

For previous top ten tunes, please click on the year: 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019


The first Red Nose Day with Lenny Henry, Jonathan Ross and Griff Rhys Jones

In 1988, the first Red Nose Day occurs, a concert takes place at Wembley Stadium in honour of Nelson Mandela, three gay rights activists invade the BBC studios during the BBC news, new licensing allows British pubs to stay open all day, Princess Beatrice is born, the Olympics take place in Seoul, South Korea, Edwina Currie claims that all British eggs have salmonella, 35 people are killed in the Clapham Junction train crash, Pan Am flight 103 explodes over the town of Lockerbie killing all 259 people on board the flight and 11 people on the ground, several British soldiers are murdered by the IRA, Benazir Bhutto becomes Prime Minister of Pakistan, becoming the first ever female leader of a Muslim country and the film Big was released. Oh and I turn 12 years old.


This week for only the second time, the same artist features twice. Also, you have no idea how hard I had to resist adding our George again this week (with Father Figure), but I figured you might be getting sick of him by now and he is reappearing again in a couple weeks. So, on we go with 1988…

1)I Should Be So Lucky by Kylie Minogue

2) Buffalo Stance by Neneh Cherry

3)  The Only Way is Up by Yazz


4) Crash by the Primitives


5) Orange Crush by R.E.M.


6) China Doll by Julian Cope


7) Twist in My Sobriety by Tanita Tikaram


8) A Little Respect by Erasure


9) Fast Car by Tracy Chapman


10) Especially For You by Kylie & Jason

Kylie and Jason

I can almost smell the 90s from here, it’s fast approaching gang. Now then, Kylie comes a very, very, very, very, VERY close second, but Erasure is my absolute favourite this week. It is one of my all time favourites after all. Please let me know which is your favourite below.

Talk About Pop Music have also done a brilliant extended playlist from 1988 and you can check it out here See you next week for our final week from the 80s- 1989

The Insignificance of Romance


sunset-hands-love-woman.jpgWhen I got married, I made the speech that traditionally the groom makes. This isn’t so shocking in itself, but what surprised people more is that my husband didn’t make a speech at all. He (quite wisely) left all the talking to me. Did this bother me? Not even in the slightest. I made the speech because my husband’s greatest fear is public speaking. Whereas for me, it doesn’t remotely bother me. I’d even go as far to say that I quite enjoy it. Just because I don’t have a penis, why should I sit there silently and let my husband do all the talking? Equally, the sexism prevails that a man is automatically expected and pressured to make a speech, but if a woman doesn’t make a speech then nothing is thought of it. Therefore, there was no chance that I was going to make my husband stand up and do a speech, rendering him in panic mode for the duration of our ceremony and reception drinks afterwards, worrying incessantly about the job ahead of making a speech. Nope, it was his day too and he deserved to be relaxed and enjoy it all. As did I. People understood this, but some people still thought he should have made a speech regardless. They still thought he should have stood up and made his declaration of love for me for all to hear. Didn’t I want this on my wedding day? Nah, you’re all right mate. I’ll survive.

For me, I don’t need my man to stand up and announce to a room full of people “hey everyone, I like, really love this woman with all my heart. She’s quite fit ‘n’ all and makes a mean chilli too” (I do make a mean chilli, as it happens). All I want from a man, is to *know* that he loves me without the need for it to be verbally clarified.

You see, I’m not a woman that needs romantic gestures at all. In my twenties, I thought romance was important. I wanted to be spoiled and made to feel special. I wanted flowers, surprises and gifts that he’d given a great deal of thought to. Now in my forties, I see very little importance in it all.


Now, my husband does indeed buy me the odd treat (my favourite being when I was heavily pregnant and he brought home a Cadbury’s Creme Egg for me- I’m a simple woman) and don’t get me wrong, if a man wants to give me chocolate, I’m not going to throw it back in his face. I’m no idiot. Free chocolate is free chocolate. However, I don’t need and I don’t judge a relationship if one isn’t bestowed with gifts. For me, anyone can go into a shop, pull out money and buy flowers. Money spent and material objects are not love. I don’t need him to buy expensive jewellery to prove his love to me. A flash designer label handbag is not needed to make me feel loved.

For me, things that you cannot see or feel are love. I just need a man to be kind, to listen, to support me, encourage me, bring the best out in me. Who I know will always be my rock. Who I can rely on and whole heartedly trust. And I hope, I also provide these things to my husband in return. Chocolates, flowers and expensive gifts are inferior compared to these things.

I’d even go as far to say that I don’t need a man to say “I love you”. I’d much rather feel it, than hear it. Romantic platitudes have no soul for me. A profound connection with a man is everything. Romance is nothing, but two dimensional.

And when it comes to weddings, I certainly do not want to criticise anyone’s choice on how they want to spend their wedding day. It’s a very personal thing and what suits one couple won’t suit another. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed big, expensive weddings. They’re a lovey day out. And of course, you can have a huge wedding and still be a couple madly and genuinely in love. However, for me personally fancy table decorations, elaborate flower arrangements, wedding dresses that cost thousands of pounds and an engagement ring that costs 3 times your monthly salary (or whatever bollox that rule is) is not love. Long speeches about how much you love someone (whether it be on your wedding day, on Facebook or down the pub) is not love. The person making the speech about their love, may of course genuinely mean it and feel it, but it’s not imperative to a relationship or marriage in the slightest. Any fool can talk, any fool can spend money. Love does not cardinally prevail in these tokens. Love just is.


On our wedding day, happy and relaxed.

Top Ten Tunes- 1987

Every Friday, I’m publishing my top ten songs from a single year and this week it’s the turn of 1987.

For previous top ten tunes, please click on the year: 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986  1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019


The Simpsons looking a little bit different in 1987

In 1987, Terry Waite is kidnapped in Beirut, Margaret Thatcher wins the general election again for the third time, in Hungerford, Berkshire Michael Ryan shoots dead 16 people and injures 16 before turning the gun on himself (this is the same day that whilst staying with our grandparents, my brother & I decided to go for a walk in the woods. We told our grandmother we’d be 10 minutes. We were gone for over 2hrs. Where did my grandparents live? Berkshire. Not far from Hungerford. Cue a very panic stricken grandmother greeting us at the gate when we nonchalantly returned),  hurricane force winds kill 23 people in South-East England, a fire at Kings Cross underground station claims 31 lives, The Simpsons first appear on the Tracey Ullman Show, a cross-channel ferry capsizes near Zeebrugge, Belgium killing 193 people and Dirty Dancing, Robocop and the film that would deter anyone from having an affair (and then leaving your pet rabbit unattended) Fatal Attraction were released. And I turned 11 years old.


Yes, I know it’s about the 900th time that both the Smiths and George Michael have featured in my top tens, but hey- the heart wants what the heart wants. And it’s not my fault they were both so prolific and good (it’ll be the last appearance of the Smiths FYI). Anyway, never fear- we’ve got plenty of first time appearances from several artists this week too. 1987 coming atcha (in no particular order)…

1.Sweet Little Mystery by Wet Wet Wet


Poor ginger bloke from Wet Wet Wet

2. Respectable by Mel & Kim (the first single I ever bought. Purchased with the £1 coin that my brother had sellotaped to my Birthday card as my gift. I genuinely couldn’t have been happier. I literally ran to the local record shop to buy the 7″…does this all make me sound old?)

3. I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me) by Whitney Houston

4. Don’t Get Me Wrong by the Pretenders


5. Heaven is a Place on Earth by Belinda Carlisle

belinda carlisle

6. Faith by George Michael


7. The Way You Make Me Feel by Michael Jackson


8. China in Your Hand by T’Pau


9. Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now by Starship


10. Last Night I Dreamt Someone Loved Me by The Smiths


So easy to choose my favourite this week. As I’m at my happiest when it’s 2am, I’ve sunk a few Sambuccas and am dancing with my girl gang to I Wanna Dance With Somebody, it most definitely has to be our Whitney this week. Which one of these 1987 treats is your favourite?

And if you want more deliciousness from 1987, hop over to the wonderful Talk About Pop Music‘s blog on what songs they thought were the best from 1987 here. See you next week for 1988!

Just Another Book Club- January Book

Please leave your comments below or within the appropriate post on my Facebook page. Please feel free to peruse other people’s comments and respond to them.

***Please be aware this is a book club discussion, so there is the possibility that my review or the comments left by others will contain spoilers***

Sweet Pea

by CJ Skuse



Incredibly bored and ambitious Rhiannon likes to make daily lists. Don’t we all, except her list are “kill lists”. She writes a list every day of everyone she would personally like to kill and at times she is able to tick off that list. A childhood trauma, left Rhiannon a minor celebrity and it is through this tragedy that we learn how Rhiannon has become the person she is today; a foul-mouthed, deadly and dark young woman.

My Review 

What a lovely way to start our book reading year. I thought I’d throw us into the deep end with this shocking and graphic thriller. As the first chapter opens with the protagonist castrating a man and leaving him to drown, I knew I was on to a beautiful, enchanting start to our reading year.

So firstly, I found this book very easy to read. Yep, even with the shocking content of the book, I still carried on turning the pages and reading with ease (does this say more about me or the author?). It was the epitome of a “page-turner” though.

Red magazine described the book as Bridget Jones meets American Psycho. I think this is a perfect description of the book. While I don’t think I need to elaborate on why it’s similar to American Psycho, the diary-style chapters and the humorous references to weight and self-image certainly gave it an air of Bridget.

However, this is where the book falls down for me. With the author’s use of language, I felt she was trying too hard to be funny and shocking. Let’s be honest, I’m not one to be phased by profanity or crudeness. I wasn’t shocked by her use of these things. It just didn’t entertain me. I was a tad arms-crossed-you-think-that’s-shocking-you-should-hear-me-out-with-the-Mums-from-school-on-a-Friday-night about it. You can relax, we don’t go around castrating men or anything (not that I recall anyway). I think the point I’m trying to make is that, it reminded me of a teenager trying to act tough to impress people. I didn’t buy it.

I can’t decide if it was lack of direction or actually a clever ploy by the author, that my opinion of the protagonist was slightly conflicted. Generally, I couldn’t stand her and at times I thought the author wanted us to actually like her in a twisted way. My conflicted feeling about Rhiannon only came into play when I thought about her traumatic past that goes some way to explain why she does the things she does. It enabled me to feel a sliver of sympathy for her, but not for long as not one of the murders she committed was actually justified. In fact, I think her past actually just provided an understanding of her actions rather than feeling actual sympathy. I do feel the author partly wanted us readers to cheer Rhiannon on from the side line as she castrated a man (albeit an absolute wank stain of a man, who deserved a sharp kick in the balls and to be reported to the police), but there is absolutely no way I found myself warming to Rhiannon at any point.

What I do know is that she clearly wasn’t a well person. Now, I understand that a psychopath (and I’m not using that word flippantly), can function quite normally in the world, with many people not having a clue what they’re really like, BUT I’m still not convinced by the way the author portrayed the contradictions within her personality. The whole “just baked a lovey cake, now I’m just going to grab my knife and slice someone up that gets on me nerves” act was unconvincing. Maybe it’s truthful (I’m bold enough to assume I’m personally not a psychopath, so what do I know about how a psychopath thinks). I just wasn’t convinced with the way the author sold Rhiannon’s personality to us.

ALSO, I’m clearly not convinced by a lot of aspects of this book (man, I really am a cynical misery sometimes), but I wasn’t persuaded by the relationship between Rhiannon and Craig. They were so utterly incompatible, I just didn’t see why they got together in the first place. I understand, that the author wanted to show Rhiannon in an unhappy relationship, but I literally couldn’t fathom what they would have seen in each other at the beginning of the relationship. I think she could’ve been a bit cleverer about this relationship.

Now, you can completely judge me on the next point I’m going to make (if you haven’t already), but thank God she killed AJ off. He was such an irritating character, she did us all a favour there.

The ending was very satisfying for me. I would have been very upset if justice hadn’t prevailed. I also figured that the baby may have gone to AJ’s Aunt (as the next closest relative) to look after, which is actually quite nice after all the grimness of the book.

In conclusion, this is a cynical and bleak book. The attempts to make it witty and the protagonist likeable failed for me. However, I couldn’t stop reading it and it kept me gripped until the end. I prefer a book with more substance, but it was entertaining nonetheless.

February’s book is Hold Back the Stars by Kate Khan. I’ll be starting the conversation for this on Monday 5th March.

A list of all the books we’ll be reading for the first half of 2018 can be found here

I’ve finally sorted out my Goodreads page, so as a few people have asked, you can view it here

Top Ten Tunes- 1986

Every Friday, I’m publishing my top ten songs from a single year and this week it’s the turn of 1986.

For previous top ten tunes, please click on the year: 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985  1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019hqdefault-2.jpg

In 1986, the trusty Sun newspaper claims that comedian Freddie Starr ate a live hamster, journalist John McCarthy is kidnapped in Beirut, rioting breaks out in Portadown in Northern Ireland between Protestants and Catholics, Prince Andrew marries Sarah Ferguson, the Commonwealth Games are held in Edinburgh, GCSE exams replace ‘O’ Levels, Australian soap opera Neighbours is launched on the BBC, Margaret Thatcher opens the completed M25, the government launches a £20million campaign to warn people about the dangers of AIDS, the first case of BSE (mad cow disease) is discovered in British cattle, the highest audience of all time for a British TV drama is recorded on Christmas Day as Dirty Den hands Angie Watts divorce papers– 30 million people tune in, a Soviet nuclear reactor explodes at Chernobyl, Comet Halley reaches it’s closest point to Earth during it’s second visit to the solar system in the 20th century, The space shuttle Challenger disintegrates seconds after launch killing all 7 astronauts, FOOTballer Diego Maradona scores a goal with the back of his hand (“the hand of God“) against England in the World Cup and the films Top Gun and Stand By Me (one of my all time favourite films) are released. And I celebrate entering by double figures.


In case you haven’t worked this out already, you really need to get used to Madonna appearing in these top tens. What can I say, I’m a woman who had an 80s childhood- of course she’s is going to feature heavily. Anyway, here’s my personal top ten from 1986 (in no particular order). Spotify list at the end as per.

1.World Shut Your Mouth by Julian Cope


2. You Can Call Me Al by Paul Simon (so in love with 1980s Chevy Chase)

3. Caravan of Love by the Housemartins


4. Manic Monday by the Bangles


Another example of 80s hair magnificence

5. Don’t Leave Me This Way by the Communards

6. Panic by the Smiths


7. For America by Red Box


8. A Different Corner by George Michael


9. True Colors by Cyndi Lauper


10. Live to Tell by Madonna


It’s so very close between The Smiths, Paul Simon and Cyndi Lauper this week, but I’m going to have to give it to my girl Cyndi. It always makes me feel emotional. WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE? Answers on a cyber postcard below.

See you next week for 1987.