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 

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Fizz Boom Bath! Book Review
Learn to make your own bath bombs, body scrubs, and more!




Are you one of those people that enjoy bath bombs? If so, then this book is ideal for you!
This step-by-step guide is simple to follow, and contains over 100 body-friendly recipes for you to create in the comfort of your own home.
You can try the basics to begin with, and then move on to the more challenging ones as you pick up the techniques.
There are also recipes for body scrubs, lip scrubs and face masks.
Perfect for your next night in filled with pampering!

Fizz Bath Boom! is available now through Allen & Unwin.

Monday, 17 September 2018

Children's Book Review:
Follow Me - Around The World



Roger Priddy's passion for teaching children in an entertaining and engaging manner has led him to produce some of the most successful non-fiction books for young readers.
Follow Me - Around The World is the latest title in the Priddy Books collection.
It takes children on a journey around the world - each page features a different destination; North America, South America, Africa and Australasia.
The reader is able to trace the grooved paths on each page as they follow Fox on his journey around the world, making this a fantastic interactive story. The thick pages in this board book are durable, and the illustrations are colourful and feature landmarks for your child to recognise along the way.

Follow Me - Around The World is available this now and has an RRP of $9.99

Tuesday, 11 September 2018


Children's Board Book Review: Peppa Pig At The Zoo. A Lift-The-Flap Book



Peppa Pig is off on a trip to the zoo with Madame Gazelle and her friends.
Lift the flaps as they travel through the zoo, meeting lots of different animals before enjoying lunch together.
There are lots of flaps which your young reader will enjoy opening to see what hides behind!
And the thick pages are ideal for little hands to flip.

Peppa Pig At The Zoo is available now  and has an RRP of $14.99
For further information on this title, head here

Monday, 10 September 2018


Lego Disney Princess Build Your Own Adventure (DK Books) 



My two younger daughters are big fans of both Lego and Disney Princess, so there's no need to say that this will be much loved in our household!
The pack includes a Build Your Own Adventure book, and a separate box which includes a Disney Princess mini figure (we received Cinderella), an exclusive Lego carriage for your child to construct, and princess bookmarks and a poster.
The book features instructions to build the carriage, as well as many ideas to create more buildings and vehicles using your own Lego.
It is recommended for ages 6+, and has an RRP of $39.99
Available through DK Books this July.
For further information on this title, head here 

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Children's Picture Book: Girl On Wire by Lucy Estela and Elise Hurst





Girl On Wire is a story about a young girl who is struggling with self-esteem and anxiety issues. She walks along a tightrope, afraid of falling, but with the love and support of her family and friends, she grips onto the wire of the tightrope and manages to walk forward, independently and with confidence.

This is a stunning children's picture book, with a very important message of having courage and being confident.

I adore the illustrations and the simple yet inspiring way in which it is told. 
Mental health is such an important issue, and this story covers the subject in a sensitive and poignant manner. 
This book is one that every family should have a copy of.

Girl On Wire is available now and has an RRP of $24.99 from Penguin Books Australia.

For further information on this title, head here

Friday, 10 August 2018

Children's Picture Book Review:  My Storee by Paul Russell and Aska.





Children's book author Paul Russell is also a primary school teacher, and he has dyslexia.
My Storee is inspired by his own experiences when he was a student, and of the one teacher who believed in him.
In the book, a young boy has a mind filled with creative ideas for stories, but when he writes them down, his work comes back covered in red pen after teachers correct all of his spelling mistakes.
But one day, a new teacher, Mr Watson arrives and encourages the students to express themselves through their writing, and not to worry about the spelling mistakes. 
My Storee demonstrates the importance of good teachers, and also inspires dyslexics and reluctant writers to have a go.

Available this August through EK Books, RRP $24.99 AU
Recommended age group: 4-8 years old.

Tuesday, 31 July 2018


My Grandfather's War by Glyn Harper and Jenny Cooper





Eight year-old Sarah loves to spend time with her grandfather. He walks her to school every day, and picks her up in the afternoons.

They enjoy each other's company - playing, building things, and chatting together, but Sarah notices that her Grandpa gets sad sometimes.
Her father explains that her Grandpa once fought in the Vietnam War, and he warns Sarah not to ask any questions about it, and to leave her Grandpa alone when he is feeling down.
But one day, Sarah works up the courage to ask her Grandpa about the war, and as her Grandpa explains the time he endured in the military, she gains a better understanding of it.
Sarah discovers that her Grandpa was a brave young man, and that after all of these years, the war still has an impact on him. 

My Grandfather's War is a fantastic book that explores the topics of PTSD and the legacy of war in a sensitive manner. And with this year marking the 50th annivesary of Vietnam War's longest battle, Khe Sanh, this is a timely resource that is well researched. 

My Grandfather's War is available from EK Books and has an RRP of $24.99
It is recommend for readers aged 5-10 years old.
For further information on this title, head here

Friday, 27 July 2018

Spot's Tractor - Eric Hill




Another adorable Spot book has been released, and although this one does not have a lift-the-flap feature, it does have wheels that spin around on both the front and back cover, which is pretty cool!

In Spot's Tractor, Spot is helping out on the farm, and he has so many jobs to do. Feeding the hungry pigs, collecting eggs, and even milking the cows!
But will Spot be able to help a little lost lamb to find his mum? 

Spot's Tractor is out this July through Penguin Random House Australia. It has an RRP of $16.99
For further information on this title, head here 

Thursday, 19 July 2018

Book Review: Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton






Before I begin my review, I just want to bring up the magnificence of this book cover! Isn't it stunning?!
And I'm so pleased to say that the story is equally as mesmerising.
I'm opting to keep this review rather short as I don't want to elaborate too much, but read Boy Swallows Universe as it is well worth your time in my opinion.

Eli Bell is a young boy growing up in Brisbane in 1984.
He has an older brother named August, who  hasn't spoken in years.
Their step-father is a heroin dealer, and their baby-sitter is a man named Slim who was once a notorious criminal, sentenced to life in prison.
Speaking of prison, their mum is in jail. As you can imagine, Eli really has a complicated life, and is exposed to many things that a boy his age shouldn't be exposed to. But this is just the beginning!!
We are taken on a great journey as Eli tries to understand just what it takes to be a good person, and to learn some valuable life lessons from the people that he loves. 
This book kept me hooked in with its storyline. The characters are very well developed, and I was cheering for Eli all the way through. 
As I grew up in the 1980's, I really enjoyed reading about the things from this era; it bought back many memories, and it made me enjoy the story even more.
I agree with the claim on the back of the book that this is 'An Australian Classic In The Making.'
It has some moments that will make you laugh, and others that will make you cry.
I would highly recommend it, and look forward to reading more from Trent Dalton in the future.

Boy Swallows Universe is available through Harper Collins Australia this July and has an RRP of $32.99

Monday, 16 July 2018


Roald Dahl Board Books:

Roald Dahl's 1 2 3 




Count from 1 through to 10 and try to spot the enormous crocodile on every page in this first board book by Roald Dahl.
The thick pages make it easy for little hands to hold. 
RRP $12.99

Roald Dahl's Opposites 



This board book has a lift-the-flap feature for your young one to enjoy as they learn about opposites. 
This also features the enormous crocodile with his snappy jaws!
RRP $12.99

Both books are available now through Penguin Australia.

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Book Review: When Life Gives You Lululemons by Lauren Weisberger 






The hugely popular author of The Devil Wars Prada, Lauren Weisberger, is back with her latest novel, When Life Gives You Lululemons.
Emily Charlton (former assitant to Miranda Priestley at Vogue in The Devil Wears Prada, played by Emily Blunt in the movie adaptation), is now 36 years old, married to Miles, and is a publicity manager to the rich and famous.
But it is not all smooth sailing, as she has been losing a few clients to a younger, more popular publicity manager.
So when she finds out that Karolina Hartwell, a former supermodel, now married to US Senator Graham, and a loving mother to her tween step-son, is arrested for DUI, Emily takes the opportunity to help her out after Graham turns against Karolina.
Karolina is adamant that she wasn't drunk, and is desperate for Emily to help clear her name before she loses her step-son Harry.
Emily is used to city locations, so heading to the suburbs for this job is at first unappealing, but she makes the most of it, especially when she recalls that her longtime friend, Miriam lives close by.
Miriam is now a stay-home mum, but is looking at getting back into law, her former profession.
Emily and Miriam catch up, and Karolina is soon introduced to Miriam, and it isn't long before the three women become firm friends.
Together, they set out to take revenge on Graham. But will it be enough to clear Karolina's name once and for all?

This was a rather entertaining read, and I would recommend it as the perfect summer beach read, or if you are after a fun and easy story. It certainly made for a different, refreshing read from the books I have read of late.
When Life Gives You Lululemons is out this June. 



Monday, 2 July 2018

Book Review: A Month Of Sundays by Liz Byrski 




'Four women, their most treasured books, a lifetime of stories...'

For over a decade, Ros, Adele, Judy and Simone have been part of the same online book club, but they have never met each other in person. 
The book club originally had more members, but these four women, all aged in their sixties and seventies, are the only ones left.
One day, Adele invites the other three women to spend a month with her in the Blue Mountains after she is asked to house-sit her cousin's beautiful property.
She asks each of her friends to bring along a book for them to discuss together. But not just any book; the chosen book must be one that will teach the other members of the group a bit more about themselves.
But as we discover, each of the women is facing their own personal challenge, and they will not only learn about each other, but rediscover themselves.

Newly retired Adele is quite an anxious person, and doubts herself in many circumstances. She lives in Adelaide, is single, and has one son.

Ros is a widower who resides in Sydney. She has an adorable dog, Clooney (named after George of course!), and has a rather feisty temperament. She has been recently diagnosed with a medical condition that she is finding difficult to adjust to.

Judy lives in Western Australia and owns a popular knitting business which she is no longer passionate about, but is afraid to make a change. 

Simone is a yoga instructor for seniors, and lives in Tasmania. She has a mysterious past, and wants to try and piece together the events from her younger years in order to find peace.


I thought that A Month Of Sundays was a rather enjoyable read, and I liked how the friendships between the four women developed and became stronger over the course of the book.
The setting of the Blue Mountains provided a lovely backdrop - I could visualise the walking tracks and lush surrounds that the author described in great detail.
I found that I was more interested in learning about each of the women's personal journeys as opposed to the discussions that took place around their chosen books, but that is just my personal opinion. 
It was nice to see the women try to overcome their fears and/or face their challenges once they were encouraged by the other females in the group. 

I appreciated the way the women showed such care to one another; it was refreshing to read about female characters that held each other up instead of dragging each other down.
If you enjoy books about strong female friendships, then A Month Of Sundays is definitely for you.

Thank you to the team at PanMacmillan Australia for the opportunity to read and review A Month Of Sundays.


Released this July through Pan Macmillan, RRP $32.99

Friday, 29 June 2018

Children's Chapter Book Review: Bad Nana - Older Not Wiser by Sophy Henn 



This is the first book in an exciting new series for young readers (aged 6 years +).
Jeanie is aged almost 8 years old.
She has a bad nana - not bad like a monster or gangster, more like a nana that loves getting into mischief (and enjoying herself immensely in the process!) 
She is often embarrassing but makes no apologies for her behaviour. 
Jeanie's dad says that nana should know better than to behave the way she does, but Jeanie is glad that nana doesn't!

The illustrations in this chapter book are gorgeous, hues of neon pink against black and white, and a stunning bold cover too.
My 10 year-old thoroughly enjoyed this book.

Bad Nana, Older Not Wiser is out this June through Harper Collins Australia and has an RRP of $17.99

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Lego Star Wars: Choose Your Path (DK Books)



In Lego Star Wars, the reader gets to choose where to go and what adventure to take!
Opt from one of three starting points (Hunt The Sith, Fight The Empire or Defeat The First Order), and journey through the Lego Star Wars galaxy.

There are heaps of Lego Star Wars facts to discover, and then you will be given two options for where to journey next. Some of the choices will lead to endings, but be warned, some endings are better than others!
There are over 40 different endings in the book, and many fun facts to learn.
When you reach an ending it is entirely up to you where you would like to go to next. You are in control!
The book includes a U-3PO Droid mini figure to keep and collect. 
Choose Your Path is a must have for any Lego Star Wars fan!

It is available now through Penguin Random House Australia. It has an RRP of $29.99
For further information on this title, head here 

Monday, 25 June 2018

Book Review The Love That I Have by James Moloney




This story is set during WWII in Germany, and the main character is sixteen year old Margot Baumann.
She has recently left school to take her older sister Renate's job in the mailing room of Sachsenhausen, a concentration camp near Berlin.

Margot is grateful that she has no contact with the prisoners in the camp, especially as her favourite brother Walther has been taken prisoner at Stalingrad, and she doesn't want to imagine the suffering he is going through, like the brutality that is forced upon those at Sachsenhausen. 

In the mail room, she is kept busy on her feet, and is shocked when one day she is ordered to burn the prisoners' mail.
She can't bear knowing that the letters written by the prisoners will go unread.
And so, in a daring act of bravery, she secretly goes against the rules and steals a few of the letters and takes them home. She sends a few of them on to the recipients, but quickly finds herself drawn into their letters of desperation, sadness, love, and hope. 
One particular prisoner, Dieter Kleinschmidt, writes with such passion and honesty that Margot finds that she must know more about this man.
And when she discovers that his girlfriend's name is also Margot, she feels as though the letters of love are being written just for her.
She makes it her duty to meet Dieter, and to help him in any way she can, but what will happen if anyone finds out about her plan?


This is a very touching story that focuses on the power of love in the direst of circumstances. 
Like many other wartime novels, it is steeped in sadness, but there is also the beauty of hope threaded through it.
The Love That I Have is available this June through Harper Collins, and has an RRP of AU$27.99

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Lonely Planet Kids Book Range


I was fortunate enough to recently receive a package of great books from the lovely people at Lonely Planet Kids.
The books in the range aim to inspire and encourage young readers to learn about the world they live in. 
My two younger daughters have had a great time learning about geography, nature, history, space, and more, and the books have provided them with hours of entertainment.



 



The 'Let's Explore' range contain colouring in pages, lots of stickers, and puzzles too. The books are aimed at children aged between 5-8 years old. 
The topics include: City, Jungle, Ocean, Desert and Mountain.

The My Holiday Scrapbook allows children to collect special mementos (including photos and postcards) from their holidays and store them in the pouch provided in the book. 






The new released title, Around The World Fashion Sketchbook, is a book which takes your young reader on a journey of style and fashion from many cultures across the globe. The book has plenty of space for your child to get creative and design their own outfits.
These are just a few of the extensive range of books on offer from Lonely Planet Kids.


All of the books in the Lonely Planet Kids range are very reasonably priced, and the books are shipped within a day or two of ordering. 

For further information on these books, head to: https://shop.lonelyplanet.com/pages/lonely-planet-kids

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

 Children's Book Review: Bush And Beyond - Stories From The Country



This book is aimed at junior readers and features four different Indigenous stories - Bush Secrets, Yipee! Summer Holidays, Barlay!, and Lucky Thamu.
The tales share exciting, joyous and even frightening times discovering things in the bush and beyond. 
This book compliments other titles released previously through Fremantle Press: Cyclones And Shadows, and Eagle, Crow And Emu. It features black and white line drawings by illustrator Tracey Gibbs.
It has an RRP of $14.99 
For further information on this title, head here



Thursday, 7 June 2018

Beauty & Lace Book Club Review: The Paris Seamstress by Natasha Lester 





I adore Natasha Lester! Her writing style is exquisite. 
I've read all of her books, and even though historical fiction is not my favourite genre, Natasha's stories captivate me every time, making it a genre that I now have a greater interest in.

In The Paris Seamstress, the story begins with Estella Bissette, a young seamstress living in Paris with her mother in 1940. As the Germans advance, her mother arranges for Estella to leave France and head to Manhattan with nothing more than a suitcase, a sewing machine and the dream of owning her own atelier one day.
She meets a young man named Sam on the journey to America, and the two form a friendship, especially as Sam also shares a love of fashion, as he is a fabric cutter.
Upon arriving in Manhattan, Estella meets Janie, a stunning blonde model from Australia. The two live together and along with Sam, they plan to open their own fashion house.

The story then introduces us to Fabienne Bissette. The year is 2015, and Fabienne is an Australian curator who attends the Met Gala to witness an exhibition of her dearly beloved grandmother Estella's work. 
But as she finds out more about her grandmother's past, Fabienne discovers that Estella had to face many tribulations and make many sacrifices in her life.
The story unravels slowly, with the two main characters (Estella and Fabienne) sharing their stories in alternating chapters, spanning generations, until the reader discovers how things play out late in the story. 

I loved reading about the fashion industry, and both Estella and Fabienne were strong-willed and courageous women. 
I'd happily recommend this book to those with a love of fashion and historical fiction.
Thank you to Beauty & Lace and Hachette Australia for the opportunity to add this to my book collection.

Sunday, 3 June 2018

Beauty & Lace Book Review: The Art Of Friendship by Lisa Ireland 





When 11 year-old Libby moves to Woodvale in Melbourne with her parents, she is nervous about what life will be like for her  now. Having left behind their farm, the Talbots are hoping to start afresh in the suburbs. When Libby meets Kit, a girl her age in the new neighbourhood, it isn't long before the two are firm friends.
Fast forward to the present day when the ladies are now approaching their 40th birthdays..
Libby lives in Sydney with her husband Cam, and is a stay-home mum to their teen son Harry, whilst Kit is single and still resides in Melbourne.
The two women are still close, despite the distance and the different roads they have travelled. Kit is Harry's godmother, and spends every Christmas with Libby and her family. The two women chat and email each other regularly too.
When Libby finds out that Cam has been promoted and they will be making the move back to Melbourne, both Libby and Kit are thrilled with the news.
But their friendship is put to the test when Libby finds herself making friends with Cam's colleague's wives, and trying to fit in with their rather posh lifestyle.
The book explores whether Libby and Kit's friendship can withstand the test of time, and explores their differences in detail.
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. I felt that the two main female characters were very real; each had their flaws and although I liked both of them, I admired Kit more as she remained true to herself and stood up for what she believed in. I felt she was more easy-going and had more integrity out of the two.
I enjoyed the sections in the book that shared their younger years; I actually would've liked more, but having said that, the story did flow well and I felt that the reader is able to gain a good understanding of Libby and Kit's friendship as it developed over the years. 
I liked how the book ended, it actually wasn't what I was expecting, and it seemed a realistic outcome.

I would gladly recommend this book as it was an enjoyable and easy read. Thanks to Beauty & Lace and Pan Macmillan for the opportunity to read and review!

To see my review on the Beauty & Lace website, head here 

The Art Of Friendship has an RRP of $29.99