Vlog Time #108 – One Week To #Darker

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Book Review – Retail Stole My Life: The Bitter Rants Of A Supermarket Worker By Rob Gonzo

I need to give a shout out to my friend Mandy who pointed me towards this book…

First the Goodreads blurb…

This book dishes the true dirt on working in a supermarket – from the bizarre customers you will meet to the managers you will learn to loathe. Best of all, you can read it for free using the kindle unlimited app for Iphone, Android and Windows. Own your copy today.

First let’s talk about the blurb because, to be honest, if I had come across this book with that blurb I would not have read it, as it was it was recommended to me so I thought let’s give it a go.

If you have ever worked in retail you are going to chuckle through this book, in fact if you have ever worked in any job where you are under a manager you are going to find bits that apply to you no matter what your job is, the interview process made me laugh and remember my own, which was not dissimilar. As many of you know I work in a supermarket as my day job so the book should have been a huge hit with me, and it was to a point. In many aspects, the book did not go far enough, not sure if it was through fear of being identified or the worry that no one would believe some of the more colourful tales that most retail workers could tell.  I have commented before if I wrote a book about my personal experiences that people would dismiss them as being too far-fetched to be true. So while this book was amusing and did make me laugh it could have gone further.

My second issue with this is something I hate bringing up, but I have to, none of us are perfect, and I can forgive a few grammatical errors, I can even forgive the occasional typo but there are a few spelling mistakes in this book which as it is fairly short I would have expected to be picked up on. I feel I have to bring this up because firstly they are obvious and secondly because if I am suggesting you spend your money on something I have to be honest.

I struggled to decide on a score for this because I did enjoy it but I have to be honest and consider it in terms of what it is and my expectations, in the end, I decided that 3.5 out of 5 is a fair score (though as I mark up on Goodreads because they do not give half score options it will get a 4 there). The book has potential and I do believe the author has talent and an excellent conversational style of narration, I just needed it to go further and be run through a good spell checker or even the free Grammarly program (which I do now use).

Glossybox Review – May 2017

Playing catch up on these reviews so there will be one a week for the next few weeks…

I had mixed feelings opening this but I was pleased to see the scrub as I was excited to try it. First up let’s talk about the sponge…

DAILY CONCEPTS Exfoliating Body Scrubber

Now, I confess, I did not really try this out much, my daughter was here when I opened the box and basically she stole it. Her argument was she is pregnant and she needed it for her wash bag for the hospital, how could I argue with that. However, I did get a good look at it, it felt really nice, it was dual sided so one side was nice and soft and the other was exfoliating but not too rough. At £4 it’s not that expensive though of course, you can buy them much cheaper, this does have one piece of bonus tech which is that the label fades with use, the idea is once you can’t read it you know you need a new sponge, however personally I think you know when you need a new one anyway and I do question if this could be altered dependant on what creams, scrubs etc you use with it. I did like it and if I came across one while shopping would buy one not sure I would go out of my way to get one though.

Next up…

SCRUB LOVE Active Charcoal Body Scrub

The claim ‘this is the scrubbiest scrub of them all’ and let me tell you they mean it, this does not just exfoliate it removes layers of skin! Imagine grabbing a handful of grit and scrubbing your skin with it and you have this, it is not for the faint-hearted or those with sensitive skin. Did my skin feel lovely and soft after? Well, yes but that was because it was all fresh skin. It smelled good in fact too good as the dog ate it before I had a chance to give it a second go but I have a feeling from how gingerly he crouched the next few days it was no gentler on the internal parts than it had been on my flesh. At £13.95 it is not the most expensive product I have used and it does do what it says, I didn’t get chance to see how it lives up to the claims of increasing circulation and the lymphatic drainage benefits but I can imagine the vigorous scrubbing would help, I, however, will be sticking to the sugar scrubs I prefer that are a little more gentle on the skin and make less mess in the shower.

Next…

DR.PAWPAW Dr.PawPaw Original Balm

I didn’t really try this very much as once again my daughter swooped in to relieve me of it, it reminded me very much of the Dr. Lipp Nipple Balm, at £6.95 it is slightly cheaper but have a very similar texture like that of a thick Vaseline. Like the others, it can be used for a multitude of things, thought the idea of some of the suggestions they make.. well let’s just say am not up for the idea of smoothing it through my hair. It is vegan-friendly I am not sure if other products are but am not sure I would buy this, it does not seem any better than cheaper products that are out there.

Next…

-417 Foot Nourishing Cream

I love this! Now I have to be honest I am rubbish at using foot creams regularly but when I have used this I can tell a difference and have no doubt that if I got my act together it would vanquish the hard skin completely, I think part of the problem is I just don’t like feet full stop, even my own. At £14.50 it is quite pricey, but I find foot products generally are, if I could get myself organised to use this consistently then I would buy it.

Finally…

RUBY Powder Blush In Coral

This is one where as much as I like it I will never use it as it is designed to be used. The texture is lovely and it applies and blends really well but there is one small issue…

The colour is just wrong for me, I am undecided yet if I will double this as an eyeshadow or see if I have friends it would be better suited to, it gives the price in Euros rather than Pounds and is 14.99, while I might not buy this again I would like to try other products from their range if they were in other boxes in future.

Overall not a bad box this time round even if two products were snatched away before I could test them properly.

Getting Ready for Darker

A couple of weeks ago I talked clothes, but this week I want to talk travel.

In an ideal world I would have a car and travel to events would be simple, but at the minute I don’t. In my day to day life, I cannot afford to run a car just for the hell of it and cannot justify needing one badly enough to suck it up and manage the expense. This, of course, means travel to these events becomes more expensive.

The cheaper option is Megabus, for most locations it does involve travelling to Leeds to catch it but there is one huge problem with this method, you can only take one case and let’s face it you need a case just for the books and swag you are likely to be hauling there, and hopefully you will sell enough to fill it back up with books once you are there.

So you are looking at at least one case plus a case or holdall for clothes this really leaves you with only one option the train. I looked at the options for railcards but as I am over 25 but not a pensioner no help there, there is a travelling with friends railcard which means you and a friend can get a reduction when travelling together but it has to be the same friend, so unless your PA attends every signing with you that doesn’t help either.

The only real option is to wait until around 12 weeks before the date you wish to travel and start stalking the trainline sites,  if you are lucky you might find a bargain but again you must be careful with this as well, if there are changeovers, check the time between trains, make sure you have time to lug those cases from one platform to another if required, make sure if one train is delayed that you can catch a later one and that you are not tied to one train having to cough up more on the day. Sometimes it will be cheaper to buy single tickets for different legs of the journey, you have to be prepared to research.

Before you start looking at train times you should also double check on your check in and check out times, you don’t want to arrive hours early and have to drag your cases around with you, you then weigh up if there are savings to be made whether they are more than the price of a cup of coffee while you wait around.

I know a lot of this is simply common sense but guess what when you get caught up in the excitement it is easy to forget the little things, maybe you drive and think these things don’t apply but it is worth still checking out trains from your area and the prices you might have to pay because sometimes fate is cruel and cars break down at times that you really don’t need them too.

Like every other aspect of treating your writing career like a business, you have to weigh up all the pros and cons, get the best value for money balanced with ease and convenience. Like the best boys scouts, the secret is to be prepared for every eventuality, personally I know I have made some huge mistakes in the way I have planned and budgeted for this signing but the important thing is I have learnt from them and I am looking forward to being able to let my hair down and enjoying #Darker.

Book Review – The Debt & The Doormat By Laura Bernard

So this is another book by an author I have become friends with on FB and will be seeing in Leeds in March so once more I was nervous when I started reading…

The Goodreads blurb says…

Poppy and Jazz have been best friends from the first week of university. Whenever these two get together trouble isn’t far away and things haven’t changed much. When Jazz gets herself into financial trouble Poppy, being a good friend, offers to help. She instead ends up being talked into swapping lives, with Jazz insisting it will be good and help her get over her broken heart.

Poppy is thrown into a new life, full of crazy housemates. There’s fitness freak Izzy, horrendously beautiful bitch Grace and the slightly gorgeous, if not incredibly grumpy Ryan.

Quickly, with the help of Jazz, her life is thrown upside down. Madness ensues and her need to please everyone gets her in more trouble than she could ever imagine.

Before she knows it she’s got a fake boyfriend and is hiding so many secrets she’s scared they’ll spill out any minute. With a bullying boss, a sex crazed colleague, a mental mother and three brothers each with their own dramas, life has gotten pretty difficult for Poppy. And all of this would be much easier, if she could just stop falling over.

Will she get her life back to normal before her brother’s upcoming wedding? And will she want to?

The truth is I don’t really read a lot of Chick Lit these days, in my early twenties I would read a lot more than I do now (if only there were more hours in the day) so I would alternate the genres I read, one serious book usually fantasy or historical, you know the type things that require concentration, then I would read something lighter, chick lit or comedy.

I have to be honest I picked this up, read the first couple of pages and was not sure I was really going to enjoy this but hands up, I was wrong! Once I got into it I was hooked, I don’t normally read on my breaks at work but this book made me anti-social and two nights running caused me to be laying in the bath long after the water had got cold. If I was going to be super critical I would question whether the main character Poppy needed to have quite so many incidents happen to her in one book, it did push it to the bounds of believability that one person could be that unlucky but in this genre it is pretty normal to go for exaggerated plot lines.

The only real fault I have with this book was at times the timeline got a little confusing, one minute you are jumping forward hours while another it is weeks with no real distinction, a couple of times I did find myself having to backtrack a little to just check how long had passed but overall this is right up there with the books I loved by Freya North and Sophia Kinsella and I will definitely be checking out the next in the series.

So the scores on the doors, well on Goodreads they do not allow for half marks so I will, of course, markup but here on my blog it is a 4.5 out of 5 stars just losing half a point for the fact I had to step out of the moment to check on time frames occasionally otherwise it would have been full marks.