July has flown by, even though I didn't actually do very much, due to being ill, but there were still some loves that I want to share with you today! I really hope that you had a great month?
Obviously, I have to mention the amazing weather - it's been so long since we had a proper heatwave and it really was so nice to see blue skies every day for a fortnight or so! The humidity at night made it tricky to sleep. but I'll put up with that if it means hot, sunny days!
Barbecues! I basically love eating outside and there is something about the smell of a barbecue that gets me every time. I don't love lots of meats, so I make homemade burgers and I like vegetables done on the grill and sometimes, ribs. It's the fresh salad from my Mam's garden that is the finishing touch - I'll make some other salads too, but I don't like mayonnaise, so I tend to stick to plain salad for myself. I just love that we've been able to do this again, as it seemed like a very long winter - all I can remember from May is rain!
I loved watching the Euros, despite the final ending with penalties, which I always hate in any final. I was abhorred by the racism afterwards, but it was by far outweighed by support for the three lads. Love always wins - it sounds cheesy, but it's true. I admire anyone who takes a penalty - I can't imagine the stress, so to volunteer to do that is so inspiring.
I didn't think I'd get into Love Island, but I needed something to keep me occupied in the evenings when the Euros ended. I don't think it's as good as other years, but it's mindless fun to watch.
Despite the time difference, I'm enjoying watching what I can of the Olympics. I'd imagine that it must be difficult for the competitors not to have an audience (especially their families), but with the Delta variant, it's the right thing to do. I'm sure they are just making the best of the experience.
I used to watch Gogglebox religiously but eventually got bored of it (I think some of the newer people were just trying to be funny for the sake of it), but I really enjoy Celebrity Gogglebox. I love the mix of celebrities and, of course, the nosy part of me loves to see their homes too! Bez and Shaun Ryder are my favourites - you never know what is going to come out of their mouths! I just wish that there were more than 8 episodes!
My lovely friend Clare from Clares Loves has started her own shop, selling a range of phone cases, which she designed herself. She very kindly sent me one, which was presented in a sheer white bag, which I will re-use for a gift. It's flexible, yet strong and I love the design. At only £12.50, the quality is excellent. When I change my phone, I'll be sure to buy from her. I love supporting small businesses and admire anyone who starts one.
I feel like the only thing I wore on my feet this month were my Valentino Rockstud Jelly Slides, because they go with everything and I only have to slide my feet into them - no ties or buckles - the ultimate in laziness! Plus they are extremely comfy!
I go through phases of reading books and read three this month: Something To Live For by Richard Roper, Home Stretch by Graham Norton, and Live Your Life by Amanda and Anna Kloots.
Something To Live For tells the story of a man called Andrew, who works for the local council in the department that deals with organising the funerals of people who have no known living relatives. It's a pretty grim job, which resonates with Andrew as he lives a completely different life to that which his co-workers think. It all began with a mistake, where he wasn't paying full attention to a question and answered yes to being married, instead of no, and then had to carry the story on. Things change when a new member of staff arrives and he actually finds that he has a chance of a real friend, but can you ever be a real friend if you tell them lies? Behind it all, we're told snippets of his past, which make you wonder why he's in the position he's in, something drastic obviously happened in his past. It all eventually comes to a head and I don't want to say anymore in case you want to read it, but ultimately what might sound like a grim story, is actually uplifting, life-affirming and really proves that you never know what is going on in a person's life....so, be kind.
Home Stretch is set in a fictional town in Co. Cork, Ireland and it begins with chapters from different perspectives, the evening before two young locals are due to get married. The bride and groom and four others are in a car that hits a roundabout and crashes. The bride, groom and bridesmaid die instantly and the bridesmaid's sister is in a coma. Now it may seem strange to have six people in one car, without seatbelts, but this is set in 1980s Ireland, where seatbelts were a luxury - I can remember all seven members of my family in the car for hours on end, driving to the other end of the island on holiday and the Gardaí wouldn't bat an eyelid if they stopped the car, as that's just the way it was in the '80s! Back to the book - two people get out of the car unharmed, and one of them (Connor) owns up to being the driver. His parents own the local pub and as a result, very few would frequent it, so it was decided that he would be shipped off to a friend of a relative in Liverpool, to start a new life because he was completely ostracised by the community and he couldn't cope with the guilt. There is a job and some lodgings set up for him and he's sharing with people that he doesn't really like, or have anything in common with, so just keeps his head down. One day, when out for a walk on his own, he catches the eye of a man, the likes of whom he would only ever have seen on tv or in a magazine before. He realises that he is gay, which doesn't go down too well with some housemates, so he flees to London, to start again. This is a huge deal/ordeal for someone from a tiny Irish village. Alongside his story, is that of his only sister, Ellen, who has had to deal with the fallout back home - guilty by association, as is what happens in small Irish villages. She eventually marries the local doctor's son, who was the other person who survived the crash unscathed. Connor eventually finds himself living in New York. He hasn't kept in touch with his parents - bad enough that he caused the crash that broke the local community, but add to that the fact that he's gay - he just really thought that it'd be better that he never returned to Cork. The story begins in the '80s but continues into the Noughties, where he crosses paths with someone in a bar in New York, who has a connection to him. I won't say any more as I feel like I've said a lot already, but this is such an easy read, yet you also want to know what happens next, so you could read it in a day or two if you had the time. Being from a small Irish village, I could understand the whys and hows of what happened, but you don't need to be Irish to read it, as village life is probably similar the world over.
Live Your Life is, unfortunately, a true story. I followed the story of Nick Cordero's Covid journey through his wife Amanda's Instagram page last year, because he became ill just a week or two after I did, yet his situation was a lot worse than mine. Despite three negative Covid tests, the virus wreaked havoc with his body - he was quickly put on a ventilator, then an ECMO machine, to save his life. There was hope, then problems, more hope, more problems. Amanda and her sister Anna, who wrote the book together, detail how truly scary this virus is. It completely ravaged his body - he lost a leg, had a deflated lung, died for 2 minutes during a procedure, and many more truly horrific things happened, despite the fact that he didn't have the initial symptoms of Covid and was a young, previously healthy, man. The couple had just moved to Laurel Canyon, in Los Angeles, but the book describes the kindness of strangers, friends and acquaintances, who rallied around Amanda as she was alone with her 6 month old son. Amanda has very strong faith, thankfully, which helped her get through each day. She looked for the good in each day, no matter how difficult it was to find. People all over the world joined her at 3pm to sing and dance to Nick's song Live Your Life - he had always wanted to be a rock star, so she made that happen, while he was in a coma and saved the videos to show him when he would recover. Ultimately, after 95 days in ICU, Nick died. I remember crying when I heard the news because it seemed so unfair, but also out of frustration that people STILL weren't taking the virus seriously (and still aren't, to an extent) - yet it had killed a healthy 41 year old. Amanda is a beacon of positivity, she shared all of the good and bad days and was so grateful to be surrounded by love, her amazing family and support from around the world, so whilst I shed tears reading the book, I also felt her gratitude and positivity. She told stories of how she and Nick met, about Elvis' birth, buying their first home, so I really felt like I 'knew' them both (and her amazing family) while reading it. Amanda always looked for signs and there were so many throughout the book. Had I known them at the time, I would have been fully sure that he was going to survive, just as she did. I know that this is only one story out of the millions of deaths worldwide due to Covid, but this one really resonated with me, because I found Amanda on Instagram, sharing Nick's story in the early days of his illness and it made me so very grateful that whilst our timelines were similar, I was at home. I think that I will always remember the name Nick Cordero and wish Amanda every happiness in this life.
|These were kindly sent to me, without obligation to post.|
I mentioned in my Insta-stories (where I post my product empties) that I found a leg serum wasn't very effective and that I found oils to be better, when it comes to increasing the elasticity of the skin on my thighs, bum etc. I also mentioned that I found Legology Cellu-Lite Oil* to be one of the best I've used, and they kindly offered to send me another bottle. I know that using a body brush helps with improving the appearance of skin too, and they reminded me of this, so I have left the brush beside my skincare cabinet, so that I am reminded to use it daily and then I use the oil. I have also use their Air-Lite for legs and it is honestly amazing. If you suffer from water retention, these products make a huge difference in reducing it, but also in increasing the elasticity of the skin so that it feels more toned overall.
Finally, I got my second vaccine on the 20th and I couldn't be happier! I understand that some people are hesitant at putting what they feel is an experimental drug into their body, but I did a lot of research and, for me, it really felt like the right thing to do. It's a global pandemic and nobody is safe, until everyone is safe, so I would urge you to get the vaccine, if you can - I understand that some people can't. I'd also ask you to take a look at Unicef's Get A Vaccine, Give A Vaccine campaign, and donate if you can. My husband & I donated because we feel privileged to be in a position to be in a country where we have been able to receive the vaccine, but there are so many people out there who need our help, so if you can at all, please donate.
And now we look to August, which is a month I love as it's my birthday and our wedding anniversary! I love that I was born on the 8th day of the 8th month, as the number symbolises infinity and it has always been my lucky number!
I'd love to hear what you've been loving this month?
Thanks for reading!
All products are bought by me, unless otherwise stated. Anything marked with a * has been kindly gifted, without obligation. I don't do sponsored posts. Opinion is always my own. Affiliate links may be used.