Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Quitting Plastic by Clara Williams Roldan and Louise Williams




Quitting Plastic is a fantastic guide that has many tips for reducing your plastic footprint. 
I read it recently and I learnt so much from it.
The book has really made me think about the way my family and I live, and how we can implement changes to reduce the amount of plastic we use in our household. (I'll elaborate more on that later).
Single use plastics (straws, water bottles, coffee cups and plastic bags, etc) are things that we should all be avoiding wherever possible. 
I was shocked to learn a staggering 5 billion plastic bags were distributed in Australia prior to the bans that were implemented in most of the states in 2018. 
And wait for it - worldwide, that figure is estimated at ONE TRILLION!!! Can you believe it?!

There are many more facts like these included in the guide, and the book is set out in easy-to-follow chapters.
It covers topics including tips and advice for the kitchen, laundry, bathroom, toys, clothes, and entertaining.
It also explains the differences between types of plastics, and which ones to avoid if you plan on cutting back.

Were you aware that plastic production has increased 20 fold in the last 50 years, and that it is set to double again over the next 20 years?! 
Or that 50-80% of debris found along shorelines is plastic?!
I personally didn't realise that the figures were that high. This book really opened up my eyes, and after reading it, I have since made some changes and had a chat about it with my husband and kids so we all, as a family, can reduce plastic use.
Whilst I have been using reusable bags when shopping, and reusable food wraps and zip lock bags for quite some time, I knew that there was more that I could be doing, so after reading this book and learning more about the ways I could make our household more environmentally friendly, I decided to make changes  including:
- using a reusable bread bag so when I purchase bread and/or rolls from my local bakery, the items can be placed in the bread bag instead of plastic bags.
- using reusable bags for fruit and vegetable shopping
- using Velvet soap in place of bottled stain removers, etc

I also plan on purchasing shampoo/conditioner bars in future (once my stash of bottled hair products has been used), changing our cat's kitty litter to a biodegradable one, and looking for products without plastic packaging when shopping.
There are a great range of reusable products available online and in stores around Australia.

4myearth is an Australian owned and operated company that sell a fantastic range of reusable products, including: bread bags, sandwich wraps, snack pockets, food cover wraps (I have been using these for years and they are great!), lunchboxes and net bags. Check out https://www.4myearth.com.au/products/ for the full range. 



Food Bag
(Ideal for storing food/stationery/toiletries)
Bread Bag
(Easy zip-close design for storing rolls/bread)


Organic Cotton Produce Bags
(Ideal to use in place of  plastic bags for fruit, veg, nuts)
Snack Pocket
(Velcro tab makes it easy to open/close, expendable sides) 

         



I was fortunate enough to be sent some of their products, and I am delighted that by using these products in place of plastic alternatives, I will be reducing my environmental footprint. 
Whilst it is a bit of a work in progress, it is quite simple to make small changes like I have.
I think that it is very important for each of us to begin thinking about ways in which we can lead a more environmentally friendly lifestyle.

How do you minimise plastic usage in your home/work environment? I'd love to hear your tips below!


Quitting Plastic is available through Allen & Unwin Australia, and has an RRP of $19.99 
For further information on this title, head here 



Special thanks to Julia from https://www.4myearth.com.au/products/ for providing images and products for me to use. 

**Special offer: enter code: inthegoodbooksblog to receive 20% off orders from 4myearth **

Saturday, 26 January 2019

Book Review & Giveaway: The Mother-In-Law by Sally Hepworth




The Mother-In-Law is due for release on the 29th January, and I was fortunate enough to be given a copy to read and review prior to its release date. 
And I am so excited to announce that I will be giving away TWO copies of The Mother-In-Law to two lucky followers!
If you haven't heard of Sally Hepworth, I urge you to check out her work, particularly if you enjoy novels about family, women's health, and relationships. 

I have just finished reading The Mother-In-Law, and I personally think that it is Sally's best novel so far!
I read it within a few days, and I loved it. I simply had to know how it ended (I was secretly chuffed when the kids decided they wanted to hang out at home the other day instead of going out as we'd planned, as it meant I could finish my book!)

The story centres around the two main female characters - Lucy, and her mother-in-law Diana.
Lucy is married to Ollie, and together, they have three young children. 
Diana is a social justice advocate, and has been married to her husband Tom for over 30 years.
Along with her son Ollie, she has a daughter Nettie, who is married to Patrick.

The story is told in two alternating timelines; the present day, and the past. 
As it unfolds, the reader discovers that right from their first encounter, Lucy is desperate to make a good impression, however, it isn't long before she realises that Diana isn't the most welcoming person.

Skip to ten years down the track, and Diana has been found dead in her luxurious home, with a suicide note close by.
However, the autopsy reveals that there is evidence of suffocation and her death is treated as a potential homicide.
Someone wanted Diana dead, but who? 

I love how the story is told from two points of view, that of Lucy and that of Diana. It shows that there are always two sides to every story, and also that being judgemental is of no benefit to anyone. It also depicts how a situation can be interpreted completely differently by two separate people. 
Sally has done a brilliant job with this book. The characters all have their secrets, and the mystery surrounding them makes for a real page-turner.
It is difficult to say more about it without spoiling it for others,  but I can't fault this book, and would gladly recommend it. 
As mentioned earlier in the post, I have two copies of The Mother-In-Law to give away.

TO WIN: simply comment below (or on the Facebook/Instagram competition post), and tell me who would you trust in your family with a secret, and why?




Terms & Conditions:

1. This giveaway is open to residents of Australia only. 
2. Giveaway closes on 8th February 2019. Winner/s will be contacted via email within 24 hours. Failure to receive a response from the winner/s will mean the prize is forfeited and a new winner/s  will be chosen.
3. Prizes will be sent direct from the publisher.
4. The prizes are not redeemable for cash.
5. In  The Good Books blog will not be responsible for items that go missing through Australia Post postal services.
6. This promotion is not associated or endorsed by Facebook or Instagram.
7. Those who 'unlike' or 'unfollow' after the giveaway ends will be disqualified from entering future giveaways

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

The Barefoot Investor For Families by Scott Pape 






I was recently reading a Facebook post by a woman in a forum who wanted advice on how to teach her kids about finance, and a lot of the comments she received made reference to The Barefoot Investor For Families book.
As a mum of three, I was interested in the advice offered, and jotted down the title before contacting the lovely people at Harper Collins Australia to discuss my interest in the book.
I was fortunate to receive a copy, and began reading it shortly after.

Having not read Scott's first book, The Barefoot Investor, I wasn't quite sure what to expect, but I did know that I would gain some valuable information about teaching my children about money.
And I have to say that I have learnt so much from Scott's guide, and I can't recommend this book highly enough.
Basically, Scott sets out 10 money milestones that children need to achieve before leaving home as adults. 
Obviously, every family is different and what works for your family may not work for your sister's, or neighbour's, etc. 
But the tips are invaluable and I feel a lot more prepared after reading it.
Some of the topics that Scott covers include teaching your children how to cook from scratch, selling some of their things that are no longer being used, or that they may have grown out of, saving money on bills, and the dangers and risks involved with owning a credit card. 
He also explains how the Barefoot Money Meals work (this was one of my favourite parts of the book!)
If you are unsure about the topic of pocket money, Scott has a brilliant strategy.
In a nutshell, you give your kid/s three jars (for storing their pocket money in), and three jobs (they get to choose the jobs, within reason). The money is paid every week on the same day, and divvied up. Best of all, it takes just 3 minutes every week.
I have implemented this in our home in the last few weeks, and I am pretty happy with how it has all turned out so far. I look forward to using more of Scott's tips in our home as my children grow (including his tips on getting a first job). 


The book is available now at all good bookstores, and has an RRP of $29.99
For further information on The Barefoot Investor For Families you can head here


Wednesday, 5 December 2018

A Girl's Guide To Kicking Goals by Steph Claire Smith & Laura Henshaw



Steph Claire Smith and Laura Henshaw are two young models turned entrepreneurs.
Together, they formed Keep It Cleaner (KIC), a website where the girls feature recipes, workouts and blog posts. They have also launched an e-book, which was very popular.
Now they have recently put together A Girl's Guide To Kicking Goals, a book aimed at teen girls, to teach them about the importance of body confidence, healthy living, and setting goals.

The book is set out in an easy-to-follow format, and includes chapters on stress management, social media, role models, body changes, and career options. 
It even includes a range of healthy recipes including stir-fry's, pesto zoodles, and even sweet treats, like the Trixy Bikkies and Vanilla and Coconut Bliss Balls pictured below.


Trixy Bikkies:



 Makes 15
Seriously, what a perfect combination of chocolate, caramel and crunchy biscuit! This is a tribute to one of our absolute favechoccie bars when we were growing up – we just had to create a healthier, refined sugar-free version to make at home. We love whipping these up on special occasions to enjoy with friends and family. They’re always a hit.

CARAMEL LAYER
1 cup (160 g) medjool dates, pitted and soaked in warm water
1 Tbsp tahini

BISCUIT LAYER
½ cup (50 g) almond meal
½ cup (75 g) gluten-free flour
¼ cup (55 g) coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp rice malt syrup

CHOCOLATE LAYER
½ cup (110 g) coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla extract 
3 Tbsp almond butter
¼ cup (90 g) rice malt syrup
½ cup (55 g) raw cacao powder

1  Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) and line a medium-sized square baking tray with baking paper.
2  To make the caramel layer, mix the dates and tahini in a blender or food processor, with ½ cup (125 ml) water and sea salt to taste. Transfer the mixture to an airtight container and freeze for at least 40 minutes. 
3  To make the biscuit layer, mix together all the ingredients to form a doughy mixture. Roll out the dough into a square about 
3 mm thick and line the baking tray. Bake for 7-10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool in the tin. 
4  To make the chocolate layer, melt the coconut oil (if solid) and blend in a food processor or blender with the remaining ingredients until smooth.
5  Once the biscuit and caramel have both cooled, pour the caramel on top of the biscuit layer in the tray, then pour the chocolate layer on top. Freeze for at least 3–4 hours (or ideally overnight) before slicing into small snack-sized pieces.
6  Store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.



Vanilla and Coconut Bliss Balls:



Makes 12-15 bliss balls
Bliss balls are so handy to have ready to go in your fridge. Whether you’re running out the door in the morning and don’t have time for breakfast, or you need an afternoon pick-me-up, or even a pre- or post-workout snack.
These bliss balls are very close to our hearts, as they are one of the first recipes we created when we started our cooking journey. While we have come a long way since then, bliss balls are the one thing we felt we could always get right! No baking required, just blending. If you find your bliss balls are too dry, simply add a little water and, if they are too wet, add a little extra shredded coconut and almond meal.

1 cup (65 g) shredded coconut
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup (60 g) vanilla protein powder
½ cup (80 g) pitted and chopped medjool dates
½ cup (50 g) almond meal
1 Tbsp coconut oil

1 Put all the ingredients in a food processor and mix on low speed. If the mixture is too dry to come together, add a dash of water.
2 Once the ingredients are completely combined and have formed a large ball in the food processor, switch off.
3 Roll the mixture into small balls with your hands (wet your hands with warm water before you start, to prevent the mixture sticking). Store in the fridge for up to
4 days.

Note: Almond meal is a fantastic substitute for regular flour. Almonds provide more calcium than any other nut.


‘Images and recipes from A Girl’s Guide to Kicking Goals by Steph Claire Smith and Laura Henshaw, Murdoch Books, RRP $24.99 Photography by Cath Muscat.’



The girls offer a lot of good advice based on their personal experiences, and I think that this will really appeal to teens.
Steph and Laura are both so positive, and are ideal role models for females, both old and young alike!
As a mum of three daughters, I know firsthand the importance of encouraging body positivity and having a strong mindset. 
This book is a really fantastic resource, and it would make an ideal Christmas gift for teens.
It is available now through Murdoch Books and has an RRP of $24.99
For further information on this title, head here 

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Book Review: Absolute Proof by Peter James




I must admit that this wouldn't usually be the type of book I would pick up and read, but I am glad that I gave this one a go as it was really good! 

Ross Hunter is in his mid-thirties, and is an investigative reporter.
His job has seen him expose some dangerous activities, including criminal operations, as well as reporting on the Taliban in Afghanistan. 
He is married to Imogen, who is pregnant with their first baby. Their relationship isn't a very trustworthy one after Ross caught Imogen cheating on him in the past. 
One day, Ross receives a call from an elderly gentleman named Dr Harry Cook, who was once an Art History professor, and ex-RAF.
He tells Ross that he has absolute proof of God's existence and insists that they meet so that he can show him a manuscript, of which there is only one copy of.
Th manuscript includes the information that supports Dr Cook's claims, in the form of three compass coordinates.
Although Ross is very skeptical, he agrees to meet with him, and is given the information. Ross hopes that this will be his hit story if it can indeed be proven that God does exist.
As Ross takes on the challenge of cracking the coordinates, he is put in some very dangerous predicaments, and Imogen tries to get him to abandon the case.
However, Ross persists, and when he discovers that Dr Cook is found murdered, he knows that there must be some element of truth to his claims.
With the help of Dr Cook's solicitor, Ross is taken on a journey of epic proportions, and whilst I don't want to elaborate too much on the details so as not to spoil it for others, I can say that this story is very well told, fast-paced, and I actually really enjoyed it. 
There were a few little things that could've been omitted (at over 550 pages, some of the details weren't all that necessary), and I felt that some of the religious references got a little tedious in parts, but having said that, it was a highly-engaging story and one I would recommend.

Absolute Proof is available now through Pan Macmillan Australia. For further information on this title, head here



Monday, 5 November 2018


Cluck - A Book Of Happiness For Chicken Lovers




When I was a young girl, we would visit my grandmother quite often, and I recall that she had lots of chooks in her backyard.
I used to be delighted when she would allow me to go into their coop and collect eggs. I was fascinated by the chickens, and marveled at their quirky and clever nature. And I have liked chooks ever since!


So when I was given the opportunity to read and review this book, I was definitely up for it!
Cluck is filled with beautiful photos of chickens, alongside a collection of quotes and proverbs. 

It celebrates hens, roosters and adorable chicks.





This book would make a lovely gift, especially as it is becoming more popular to keep backyard chickens, not only on rural properties but urban environments as well. 




Cluck is available this November through Exisle Publishing, and has an RRP of $29.99
For further information on this title, head here 

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Beauty & Lace Book Club Read: Make Or Break by Catherine Bennetto



I've read Catherine's first book (titled How Not To Fall In Love, Actually) and after reading it, I knew that I would automatically look for and read any future works of hers as I really enjoyed it.
So when I was given the opportunity to read her newly released second novel, Make Or Break, thanks to the lovely people at Simon & Schuster as part of the Beauty & Lace Book Club, I was happy to be a part of it, and Make Or Break didn't disappoint!

The main character is 29 year-old Jess, who lives in London, works full-time, and has quite an anxious nature.
She is in a committed long-term relationship with her boyfriend Pete, (he is a PE teacher's assistant and loves partaking in various fitness-related adventures).
Jess is very close to her family - her loving parents, and her sister Annabelle, who is a single mum to two adorable children, Hunter, and Katie.

When Jess is invited to her best friend's last-minute wedding in South Africa, she is excited to go along with Pete, and even toys with the idea of proposing to him..
But unfortunately for Jess, the holiday doesn't go according to plan, and she is faced with quite a few dilemmas in her personal life.
There are a lot of things that happen and some really nice characters that enter the scene at this stage, and I am struggling to provide a review without elaborating too much as to what occurs...
I don't want to give anything away, but I will say that this is a really fun romantic comedy, but with some serious topics thrown in to the mix.
I adored Jess, she's totally relatable; I found myself nodding along in agreement on several occasions with the decisions she makes. She is very funny and sweet, and she cares a lot about her family.
The settings of Cape Town were described really well and allows the reader a real sense of the lifestyle and surroundings of South Africa. 
The title of the book has a second story behind it which I wasn't expecting, and I thought that it was quite clever.
I would gladly recommend this book. It is a really fun and easy read.

For my original review on this title, head here