Book review: A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

 Well hello to you my reader chums! I've been meaning to read this book since I finished the Kite Runner back in school, over 7 years ago now, but life and a lot of other great reads distracted me. I absolutely adored the Kite Runner, it was such a beautifully written novel and I loved the author's work that I knew this read would be just as brilliant - and it was.

Book review: A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini


A Thousand Splendid Suns tells the life of both Mariam and Laila and how their lives intertwine. Mariam lives with her mother and when she is fifteen, she is sent to Kabul to marry Rasheed, who is vastly older than her. Two decades after the marriage and living an unhappy life, Mariam meets Laila, a local teenager who she takes in after a terrible occurrence. Their relationship blooms and is similar to what a mother and daughter's bond would look like.  When the Taliban take over, everything changes and life becomes a constant struggle with issues including starvation, brutality, and fear being a daily thing. But, love can help everything, and the strength of love speaks volumes in this book to overcome some of the most heartbreaking obstacles.

Characters and relationships

I say this about every book, but I adore seeing how relationships develop between characters. This book is heartbreaking in so many ways and the use of rawness in emotion is incredibly pure throughout with the characters. I could physically feel their pain when a lot of incidents happened.

Mariam undoubtedly grows throughout the novel and the first section of the book is solely focused on her and her relationships with her mother and father. Mariam was born out of wedlock so the illegitimacy of her birth was looked down upon and it means she never got to see her brothers and sisters from her dad's marriage. She lived exclusively with her mother and was constantly reminded that she was an outcast. Her relationship with her mother isn't a great one as the toxicity is real, and at the beginning of the novel, it's her father she fixates on. However, when she gets older and her father sends her to get married to Rasheed, she begins to resent her father and wishes to feel her mother's love and the bond they had.

The relationship between her and Rasheed is an odd one. Initially, Mariam is incredibly angry in having to marry Rasheed and a lot of confused and upset feelings come across in the book, especially towards Rasheed - he's a stranger and senior to her, she's only a young girl. She gains his trust and at the beginning, things don't seem bad for her, they're new and it's something she is getting used to a new husband, a new home, and a new life, and really, been throwing it at the deep end to be an adult and wife when she was only a child. All fresh feelings. But as their marriage goes on, things get harder and she begins to resent him and his actions a lot.

Laila comes into the story and we delve into her life before the pair meet. Laila isn't a typical girl in Afganistan at the time as her father is quite against gender norms in their culture and wants Laila to go on being the best person she can be, whilst her mum is sick with depression, grieving the loss of Laila's brothers. Laila has a great relationship with her father and their bond is so pure, but her relationship with her mother is quite rocky as she forever craves that motherly bond but her mum is too ill to offer it. My favourite relationship though is between Laila and her best friend Tariq. They are childhood playmates and their bond is beautiful to read about, especially as they get older and kids begin to pick on Tariq as he only has one leg. When they get into teens, their friendship grows into something more but distance stops them from pursuing it.

The whole book comes together though with Mariam and Laila when they meet, and their two paths are intertwined. At first, Mariam is really jealous and almost hateful towards Laila, whereas Laila just wants to get on with Mariam. Over time though, when things get difficult, they start to rely on each other and build the loveliest bond you could ever read and become the best of friends. Their relationship is so heartwarming and it's tested in so many ways - and proves how powerful a female friendship can truly be.

Book review: A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

Overall thoughts

Overall, I absoutely adored this book so much that I cannot even put it into words. From the first page, the plotline and the way the story is written truly hooked me in. There were so many emotions throughout the novel; the shock factor was huge and at plenty of stages in the book, I felt heartbroken, sad but also incredibly happy at some points. It really brought to my attention the devastating circumstances that were experienced by many women in Afganistan and are still experienced today by women all over the world. It's a tragic novel but so raw, heartbreaking, and also a book that tests the power of love. I loved it. Khaled Hosseini is an incredible writer.


I wasn't entirely sure what to expect in the ending as so many shocking things happen before you get right through to the last page. However, it ended on a note which really made me smile and brought the whole book and characters together.

I hope you enjoyed this review. Have you read this book?

Thank you for reading <3

Review: Dermavive CBD moisturiser | Gifted

 Well hello to you my reader chums! The talk of CBD has been circulated for a while now and the benefits seemed endless that when Nutrivive got in touch about trialling their moisturiser for a review, I was intrigued, to say the least. 

I've been using the moisturiser for a few weeks now and I can say, I'm very impressed by it and love that its part of my skincare routine.

Review: Dermavive CBD moisturiser

What is Dermavive?

The Dermavive moisturiser is infused with cannabidiol and aims to reduce the appearance of irritation, de-stress the senses and calm the look of skin. It's rich in essential omega-6 and omega-3 acids and is non-intoxicating. And, the best part for me is it's vegan, cruelty-free and sustainable.

Packaging and scent

The moisturiser comes in what feels like quite a heavy container that is similar to glass with a shiny silver lid and is also a screw-on top. It has pretty simple branding running across which highlights the luxury look of the product.

The scent is probably my least favourite part of the product as it's quite an unusual and lingering scent. It reminds of me of when you open a pack of sanitary pads or nappies and that strong, slightly perfumed scent with some baby powder chucked in. It's quite an intense scent that when applied I can smell it for a while until it fully sinks into my skin. The freshness of the scent is probably the best thing about it however, it's very clean.

Texture and feel on the skin

The moisturiser is very thick and I like to dot it all across my face and blend it in. Due to the thickness, it can take a bit of moisturising in to fully sink into the skin. However, the texture of the cream is incredibly soft and blends very smoothly across the face, which I absolutely love. It makes my moisturising routine an enjoyable thing to do as my skin feels really hydrated instantly after it's sunk in. 

Review: Dermavive CBD moisturiser

Lasting power

The lasting power is probably my favourite thing about this moisturiser. After applying it, even hours after, my skin still has the same hydrated feel about it and I adore that. Also, I've noticed it really has helped calm my skin down, and since using it, I've had no breakouts at all, even after wearing my mask all the time. I think the lasting effects in terms of what it's doing to my skin is a wonderful thing and I'm glad it's now part of my skincare routine.

Overall thoughts

Overall, I absolutely love this moisturiser. Even though the scent isn't my favourite, I love how hydrating it is on my skin, how it's helping to aid my skin to appear calmer and the texture of the product. It's priced at £39.99 so a higher price point, but considering the thickness of the product and the lasting effect, it's a luxury moisturiser worth the investment.

I hope you enjoyed this review. Have you tried CBD products?

Thank you for reading <3

How to overcome your anxiety | my tips and tricks

 Well hello to you my reader chums! Anxiety is something I've had to learn to cope with for a good chunk of my life and it's still an ongoing battle to this day, as you may have read in my letter. However, it's something over time that I've vastly improved on and I've gotten to the point where I've learnt my coping mechanisms and triggers, and can control it to an extent.

How to overcome your anxiety | my tips and tricks

Overcoming anxiety doesn't have a quick fix, it's not easy and there's no way that I'm actually fully recovered. However, I'm now in a position where I can fully understand my anxiety, what causes it, and how I'm able to deal with it. Anxiety is different for each person, including triggers and coping mechanisms, but there are methods I've used that can be successful for you too. It's very much a trial and error thing to see what will work for you - and with perseverance, you can get there. Also, it may come without saying but I'm no professional, these are just things that have worked for me, and I hope they benefit you in some way.

 I believe in you. We're in this together.

Stepping out of your comfort zone

You may have heard this a thousand times but I can assure you in the long run, it is effective and will help you in more ways than one. Stepping out of your comfort zone is very subjective and can be different for every person. For me in regards to anxiety, this was basically any social interaction that wasn't in my 'safety bubble' ie my best friends and my family. I would really struggle to go to big social events without freaking out, going into the office, and anything unexpected that would occur, socially. They were all huge triggers for me.

I got to the point where I didn't want that anymore, I wanted to be like my friends who didn't have to worry about leaving the house or jumping on public transport or going to a social event, so I pushed myself. This wasn't easy in any sense as I was terrified of stepping away from what I knew in my own safe little paradise, but it was needed. I started small by walking to my local shops on my own and then doing things like getting on the bus and hanging out with bigger groups of people and even travelling (believe it or not I used to have terrible anxiety around it and now it's my favourite thing.). It all started out very small and then I began to push myself harder and faster to constantly see if I could do it. The outcomes were lots of crying and panic attacks but eventually, after the constant pushing, I got to the realisation with a lot of things that 'this is fine, I can do this.'

Figuring out your triggers 

I cannot stress to you enough how incredibly important this is and how it will really help you overcome what you're going through. The key to finding methods of treatments is discovering the cause in the first place, as it can really help you understand what's going on. Figuring out my triggers was again no easy thing, it took years of really pinpointed what would cause different parts of my anxiety. Some things would cause me to feel anxious, others would cause panic attacks, and other things, I'd be so anxious for days on end that I couldn't shift the feeling.

When you begin feeling anxious or have a panic attack, try to reverse your thought pattern back to before that moment and figure out what was on your mind or a situation that happened that caused it all. And then write it down, and keep doing that in different scenarios until you get a list of possible causes. The things that are listed multiple times will probably be your main triggers - and from that, you can figure out a way to prevent or work on those triggers.

For instance, my biggest trigger is not feeling good enough and that goes in any sense; socially, in myself, or at work so if someone says something or I feel like that for some reason, it can really trigger me into an anxiety episode.

Exposure therapy

This is probably the harshest type of way to deal with anxiety and I wouldn't recommend it if you're not ready for a harsh reality. Exposure therapy is basically being pushed in at the deep end and facing your fear head-on, or in this case your anxiety trigger. There's probably a better explanation from a medical professional but that's how I understand it to happen.

I experienced exposure therapy not really out of choice but more my friends trying to do what's best for me - and I'm so glad they did. They brought me along to night clubs, took me onto the tube (I used to be really anxious in huge crowds and tight spaces) and into big social gatherings. And although it was completely daunting initially and I experienced way too many breakdowns and panic attacks (which they helped me through), over time it got better and easier.

Surrounding yourself with the right people

I cannot stress this enough. Dealing with anxiety is truly hard as often it can feel so isolating and it'll never end - and that's why you need people around you to support and understand you. If your family and friends don't have anxiety themselves, it can be hard for them to understand. However, if you explain what you're going through and talk it out regularly, they'll know what to do if you're having a panic talk or a bad anxiety day. It's important to cut the people out of your life that is toxic and won't help you in any way as they'll just add to your anxiety.

Learning what helps your anxiety

Once you've figured out the triggers and created a better environment for yourself to deal with your anxiety, you can find the treatments that will work for you. This is different for every single person. You may find breathing exercises are your thing, or getting out in the open and going for a walk, or hiding away for a few hours under your blanket, or talking it out with someone. We all have that one thing that can make us feel a little better when anxiety hits - and once you've sussed it, dealing with your anxiety will be a lot easier.

I hope you enjoyed this post. What other tips do you have for overcoming your anxiety?

Thank you for reading <3

Amtico Always Takes the Lead | AD

Well hello to you my reader chums! I love the idea of designing my own house one day and picking everything from the flooring to the beautiful wall art and trinkets. and having my Pinterest boards come to life.

AD - This is a pre-written post by Amtico vinyl flooring.

The living room is the heart of the home, but it is also the room which is subject to the most foot traffic. Whether you frequently have guests over or your house is filled with family, Amtico will prove to be no match for dirt and debris which is left in the wake of any social or family occasion.

Amtico is the leading vinyl flooring brand because they bring durability and style to any and every room. The lowest price Amtico flooring for your living space helps you to really live in that space. Let’s explore why…

Vinyl Beats Real

There really is no difference between authentic materials and vinyl. In fact, people opt for Amtico instead of alternative brands and materials like laminate and carpet, because they see that Amitco allows for a more laid-back approach to care and maintenance. Simultaneously this means you get to spend more time admiring the illustrious design of your flooring, rather than spending hours scrubbing.

Both homeowners and interior design professionals can expect more benefits with Amtico vinyl flooring over traditional materials. The change in home design trends over the decades means that Amtico has taken precaution in developing styles and colour palettes that match modern and more vintage styles, which is handy if you enjoy an eclectic range of styles. 

Artistic Range

Each person in your household will have a different reason to spend time in the living room, but not to worry, with the complete style diversity of Amitco vinyl flooring, your living room will always look the part.

Vinyl flooring is a printed masterpiece that can showcase a variety of unique flooring patterns or block colours to perfectly reflect the habits of those who live under your roof. 

Whether it's wood or stone that enhances your room's purpose, you’ll find it to be the perfect background to movie nights in as a family, a social gathering with drinks and food as well as those couples evenings over a candlelit dinner. 

Protection For Decades

As families will well understand, pet-proofing new flooring is a task which requires extensive care and attention. Luckily, the scratch guard technology of Amtico prevents your four-legged friend from covering your new Amtico flooring in scratches and scuffs.

The PU layer which holds the anti-scratch technology also holds a moisture resistance quality which means if you’re little ones are prone to running wild with juice cartons in hand, then you needn’t worry about the safety of the floor. 

With Amtico luxury vinyl flooring, you can stop worrying all together as your little ones are safe from slips and trips because of the extremely durable grip strength of the PU layer.

Toasty Toes

Perhaps the most appealing aspect of vinyl flooring is its ability to flawlessly match underfloor heating to give extra cosiness to those long winter nights indoors.

For visitors, the welcome feeling will be predominant throughout your home and the inviting atmosphere in your living room, once they have entered, will bring comfort and relaxation to your guests, leaving them with an all-around positive experience of your domain.

Amtico is the ultimate choice for living room comfort. Amtico Spacia especially helps families to come together by providing a safe clean floor which takes hours of the cleaning time and pounds of the price tag.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Are you a fan of vinyl flooring?

Thank you for reading <3

8 productive things you can do in lockdown 2.0

 Well hello to you my reader chums! The first lockdown was somewhat an interesting and hard experience, with some loving it, some hating it and a lot of us struggling. It was a time where everyone was trying to get Tik Tok famous, perfecting the best banana bread recipe, and joining Joe Wicks for daily workouts. 

Now in our second lockdown, I'm trying to stay hopeful as we got through one, and we can get through another. This time, things are a little different as we're in the peak of winter and can't spend our days getting that dose of vitamin D. However, despite it being an uncertain time for us all and many of us dealing with consequences of that mentally, there are ways we can use this time to be productive and see the positive side of it.

8 productive things you can do in lockdown 2.0

Focus on healing

We all have something in our life that has caused us a great deal of pain and often or not, we bury the emotions around it and keep distracted with life rather than letting it bother us - and because of this, we don't fully heal from any sort of trauma we experienced. In this lockdown, many of us will have free time to work on ourselves, time that was usually taken up by everyday life. Try and use this time to work on any trauma you've experienced, seeking therapy, practicing mindfulness, or doing what you're doing to finally let something you're holding onto go. I can assure you, whatever it is, you'll feel a lot better.

A method I've used to let go of something that caused me deep pain is writing it all down in a letter to that person (or that thing if it's something else.) I wrote down everything I was thankful for in that person, then everything they did to hurt me, everything I forgave them for, and everything I forgave myself for. As I was writing the letter, I let myself feel all the pain and cried it all out, but after that process, it's honestly like a weight had been lifted and I felt a lot better. Instead of suppressing pain, you need to really feel it again and let it pass through you, in order to let it go.

Get organising

I don't know about you but I'm a massive neat freak and love the idea of organising literally everything, whether that's my wardrobe or my kitchen cupboards. It's one of those things that I love doing but never really get the time doing and I put it off as I'm too busy with everything else. However, lockdown is prime time for that. I love to look at Pinterest for organisation ideas!

Plan all your Christmas shopping

Christmas is drawing very close and the festivities will start to begin every soon - and that means planning presents. Christmas will be different in general this year and nobody has any idea about what will actually happen, however, planning presents is something we can all do.

I'm actively trying to buy from small businesses this year as it's so important, especially in these difficult times to buy from small businesses and support them. With this month, you can spend the time researching online for your presents, scroll on Etsy to discover new business, and get creative with DIY presents.

Tick off your to-do list

I think we all have that list of things we need to do but never actually get around to and constantly put it off, doing after tasks or activities instead. However, now you can utilise the time and tick off the mundane tasks whether it's doing a bit of life admin, organising your sock drawer, or chucking something out.

Relax completely

As much as lockdown is a time to be productive and you've got more time on your hands, it's also a time to actually relax. I don't know about you but over the years, I've really had to work on the fact to make time for relaxation. I'm one of those people that has a million tabs in my brain open at a time and I constantly have to be doing something so as you can imagine, relaxing isn't easy for me. But, this is the time to do exactly that and enjoy it.

Practice self-care 

By self-care, I don't just mean having a bubble bath, sleeping more, and putting on a face mask. I mean really getting to grips with a self-care routine, and that means setting boundaries, listening to your body intuitively, and doing what's right for you, in every single way. You can read more about my self-care tips.

Quality family time

During the last lockdown, I actively tried to step away from my phone and laptop and be more present in my household, and actually spend time with my family. I spent time talking to them more, doing activities, and making the most of seeing them more often, as usually, I'd be at work or out and about doing lots of things that I wasn't home much.

Keep a gratitude journal

2020 has been a difficult year and it can be hard to stay positive, however, there is always something to be grateful for, and keeping a journal is the best way to see that. Every day, write down 3 things you're grateful for, and then in the moments when you feel sad or down, you'll be able to read it back and it'll give you a boost.

I hope you enjoyed this post. What other productive things are you doing in lockdown?

Thank you for reading <3

5 tips on preparing for a sustainable Christmas | Gifted

 Well hello to you my reader chums! Christmas is coming up and the festive season is nearly underway. The lead up to Christmas has to be one of my favourite times of the year, I love the excitement of getting together with people, preparing gifts, and having cosy night in, it's all part of the festive fun. 

Granted, this year is going to be a slightly different Christmas and nobody is sure what will happen. However, I'm trying to stay positive and make the most of the festive season, and focusing on what's really important - family, friends, and time together (whether that'll be virtual or in real life.)

Christmas is also a time for creating gifts and buying things for loved ones which means it's also a very wasteful time of year. In the last few Christmases, I've tried to be as eco-friendly as possible, with my preparation, gifts, and everything to do with the festive season. 

5 tips on preparing for a sustainable Christmas

When Little Green Paper Shop got in touch about featuring their products, I thought it was the perfect fit for what I wanted to talk about in this post and is a brand that's completely up my street, on my way to living a more eco-friendly lifestyle.

This post is a gifted collaboration but all thoughts are my own.

Who is Little Green Paper Shop?

Little Green Paper Shop is a small, sustainable business based in the UK, and sell a range of handmade cards, gifts, and wrapping. They created the brand as a way to put an eco-friendly alternative to cards and wrapping on the market.

The shop offers a selection of different items including SeedPaper cards which are infused with wildflower seeds and can be planted after use (no waste) and Reindeer Poo cards, made from recycled reindeer dung 'all the way from the north pole.' They also have lots of different tags, and wrapping paper, made from Mulberry tree paper and natural Micas. The best part of all their products though is the designs are absolutely stunning and well-thought-out.

5 tips on preparing for a sustainable Christmas

5 tips on preparing for a sustainable Christmas:
  • Using eco-friendly wrapping/cards - The bulk of most wrapping paper and Christmas cards sold in the shops are not eco-friendly in any way and that means they're either not able to be recycled or aren't made of biodegradable materials. This is where Little Green shop comes in; they offer a selection of cards, wrapping paper, and tags - everything you need to make your Christmas presents looking super cute, without harming the planet.
  • Shopping small and supporting local businesses - I run a small business myself and it means the world when customers choose to shop with me rather than buying something at their local shopping centre. Supporting a small business doesn't only support someone's dream but it also is a lot more eco-friendly. Local businesses tend to source their inventory from smaller shops around them and manufacture them by hand, rather than a huge and wasteful factory setting. Etsy is one of my favourite places to discover small businesses and Instagram too.
  • Make your own gifts - Christmas isn't all about how much you spend on everyone, it's about the thought you put into presents. Try giving making your own gifts a go, this can be baking a cake, knitting a jumper, printing a t-shirt, or painting a canvas. Utilise whatever talent you have and I can assure you, the recipient will love it as much as you.
  • Shopping sustainable - What I mean by this, if you're going to buy clothes or a big item, do you research into which companies have good ethics behind how they produce their products, and choose the more sustainable options and shops. There are so many companies that claim to be sustainable which actually aren't so do your research before you buy!
  • Buy presents with less waste - It's no doubt that for kid's products for instance come in an unnecessary amount of packaging, likewise do gifts from Amazon. Try to avoid shopping online and save the excess amount of packaging you'll get on your doorstep. Instead, choose gifts that come with less packaging or will produce a minimal amount of waste. Be smart, be savvy, and think more about what and where you're buying from.
You can find Little Green Shop over on their website, Instagram, and Facebook.

I hope you enjoyed this post! How are you going to be more sustainable this Christmas?

Thank you for reading <3

5 ways to look after your mental health in lockdown 2.0

 Well hello to you my reader chums! Lockdown 2.0 has started today and honestly, I have completely mixed emotions about it all. Nothing has really felt normal since the first lockdown. I've been on furlough since April and that's now going to continue due to another lockdown. I've tried to maintain somewhat of a normal routine and keep busy with other projects at that time. Some days it's easy and some days it's hard, but it's about making a new normal for me.

I wrote a post about how to deal with your mental health in lockdown, but after reading that and fully experiencing the last lockdown, there are a few things I'd also add.

5 ways to look after your mental health in lockdown 2.0

Focus on you

Being shut in our houses, there's almost this pressure to use the time to figure our life out or complete our to-do lists that we wouldn't already have the time to do in normal circumstances. However, that's not the case at all. Lockdown is already putting pressure on our mental health as it's a really uncertain time for every single person for various different reasons, and therefore, you shouldn't put that additional pressure on yourself to conquer life. Take the time for you, and what I mean by that is really focus on what you and your body needs.

I had experienced a break up before the last lockdown and my mental health was at an ultimate low, and I used the last lockdown to really focus on my healing process and doing everything I could possibly do to get back to me again. Do what's best for your mental health, live intuitively with your body, and really focus on exactly what you want to do that day, whether you feel productive or just need to relax. Take every day as it comes.

Take social media breaks

I'm very guilty about spending way too much time on social media in general, so when the first lockdown came around, you can imagine that was heightened even more. I would sometimes scroll for hours and not even realise, especially on Instagram and Tik Tok. It's not a healthy thing to do and it really wasn't the best for me and my mental health.

I would advise taking some time away from your phone, having regular social media breaks, and use that time to do something else to focus your mind on. Whether it's reading a book, calling a friend, or watching television; only something that'll sway your mind away from the constant 'perfection' of social media.

Interact as much as you can

Lockdown is unfortunately a time where social interactions are limited. We're not going to family events, meeting up with our best gal pals, or talking nonsense to our work colleagues all day long, and it can be a very lonely time. With that in mind, try not to cut yourself off too much from the outside world and keep social with as many people you can (virtually of course.) Check-in with your friends to see how they are doing, give someone you trust a call if you're not feeling great, and arrange regular Zoom chats with your group. Talking everything out will make this uncertain time a little more normal. 

Practice meditation/listen to calming apps

Regular meditation and learning to find your calm is more beneficial and something I've tried to do a lot more, especially in these uncertain times. I've been doing it before bed, especially on the nights when my anxiety is high and it's really helped. My favourite apps to use are and Headspace. 

Writing down 3 things you're grateful for every day

Trying to stay positive in a time like this is difficult, to say the least. There are so many things we've all put on hold, and there has been a lot of bad news for everyone this year. However, there is always something to be grateful for whether it's your health or the fact someone made you smile that day. Each evening, try and think of 3 things you're grateful for and read them over and over before you go to bed. It'll help change your outlook on the whole day and send you to sleep with a positive mindset.

I hope you enjoyed this post. What other mental health tips do you have?

Thank you for reading <3