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Book Review - The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue book

Okay so we're trying something new today, I recently got back into reading, and thanks to BookTok it's becoming something of an obsession so I'm doing my first book review today and we had to start with something that's was seriously hyped up, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRure

Author: V.E. Schwab

Genre: Fantasy/Fiction

Rating: 5/5

Summary: This is the story of Adeline La Rue, a young girl growing up in a small village in France set to be married to a man she doesn't love and doomed to live a life she deems small, boring and unfulfilled. On the day of her wedding in desperation, she prays to a god after dark to save her, this dark and mysterious character appears and grants her wish for time and freedom however he is devious and uses her own words against her, tricking her into an immortal life in which she can leave no impact upon the world. Anyone who meets Addie or has ever known her instantly forgets who she is as soon as she's out of sight. The story jumps back and forth in time telling the story of Addie and following her journey over 300 years until one seemingly 'normal' day in a bookstore she meets a boy with the ability to remember exactly who she is.

Book Cover: I love the book cover, it's simple, beautiful, and classic and I think it fits with the story perfectly, it was only available in hardback when I purchased the book but I'm not mad about it the dust cover differs nicely from the book within and both options would look great on any bookshelf.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue book

Review: (Before I begin this isn't going to be a super technical review about the writing etc. it's just your average girl's opinion who enjoys reading) This book is beautifully written and dives into a range of topics including immortality, time, love, loneliness, and our desire to leave our mark upon the world. As someone on the brink of entering their thirties and often having an existential crisis and questioning what I'm supposed to be doing with my life this story really resonated with me, it got me thinking, was dark, emotional, and enchanting. (I recommend reading this book in autumn)

I will say that towards the middle of the book it did get a bit slow and repetitive, it's possible this repetitiveness was intentional to mirror Addie's life but either way, I didn't love that element. If I'm being picky I could also say that Addie was at times a little bratty and stubborn and I didn't totally fall in love with the character of Henry. I did however enjoy the character of our devil in disguise Luc, I like how we have no specific definition of what or who he is, is he an ancient god, the devil, or just some kind of monster, we never really get a definitive answer which adds to the mystery, intrigue and fantasy element of the story. 

Overall, I really loved this book, the writing was beautiful, it was something a bit different to anything I had read before and I think I will definitely reread this again in the future.

An open book

Favourite Quotes:

"It's the kind of day designed for wood fires, and mugs of tea, and well-loved books."

“Books, she has found, are a way to live a thousand lives--or to find strength in a very long one.”

“Blink, and the years fall away like leaves.”

“It is just a storm, he tells himself, but he is tired of looking for shelter. It is just a storm, but there is always another waiting in its wake.”

Additional Notes: Henry has in his home a 'mug wall', a wall decorated with different mugs for guests to pick from. When offering guests a hot drink you ask them to choose whichever mug speaks to them. Your first choice is final and if you change your mind then you'll have to wait until your next visit to make another selection. I absolutely love this idea and one day when I buy my own home I fully intend on having my own mug wall!

My Favourite Self-Care Products

I love nothing more than a cosy day spent at home relaxing and pampering myself, it's something many of us don't do nearly enough but this last year I think it's become so much more essential (thanks coronavirus) so today I'm going to share some of my favourite products that help me relax and de-stress.

First up, we have candles, I know it's so obvious but candles really do set the mood, the soft warm lighting instantly gives you cosy vibes and helps you to unwind after a long hard day. I'm actually in the process of creating my own candle brand and I currently have two available, Love Spell is a beautiful candle scented with black pomegranate and infused with a rose quartz crystal to help promote self-love, the top is also decorated with dried rose petals to give you all the romantic vibes. To check it out, click here!

luxury white candle decorated with a rose quartz crystal and dried rose petals

Next, is essential oils and essential oil diffusers, I love these for similar reasons to candles, the lighting from the diffuser really helps to set the mood and create a more relaxed environment and essential oils are amazing for making you feel more relaxed (depending on the oil used). There is some scientific reasoning behind how scent impacts the brain and can actually change our mood but I'm no scientist so I won't try and get too technical. Lavender, chamomile, and eucalyptus are great for relaxation and sleep, but there are tons of different blends that you can use/create not only for your diffuser but essential oils can be used in your beauty routine, cleaning and hundreds of other ways which is why I love them so much (if you do have pets do your research about which oils can be harmful to them).

Third, is probably my favourite self-care activity, a bubble bath. I find that most people either love or hate a bath but I find it not only relaxing but a great way to ease any sore muscles, I work as a lash technician and have suffered from back problems for years and a really hot bath always make me feel better. My phone is water-resistant so I do risk bringing it into the bathroom and watch my favourite shows as I'm chilling out because I will admit that it can get boring just sitting in a big tub of water if you've nothing to read or watch. My favourite bubble bath at the moment is the Dr Teals Foaming Bath with Pure Epsom Salt which smells of eucalyptus and spearmint and gives you loads of bubbles.

Fourth, is another obvious one but it's a goodie and it goes perfectly with the bubble bath I just mentioned, face masks. Applying a good face mask always makes me feel pampered but it also helps target any specific skin concerns that I'm having. My favourite brand for face masks is The Body Shop, they have a really great range of masks and I love the packaging they come in, my favourite has to be the Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Glow Mask as it's exfoliating and always leaves my skin feeling really soft and clean plus it has tea tree oil to help tackle my adult acne.

Finally, if I've been lucky enough to have a night using all of the other products mentioned I like to finish off this little self-care session by using my Omorovicza Rose Quartz Facial Roller. I love a facial roller to help cool, soothe and depuff the skin plus there's something really relaxing about actually using one, it's a really lovely self-care practice for any skincare enthusiasts and a great way to start or finish your day when you have a little extra time.

It's been a tough year for us all and if it's taught us anything it should be to appreciate the little things and to take care of ourselves properly, we live extremely busy and hectic lives but it's essential to stop every once and awhile and just take a breath. Hopefully, you enjoyed this post and are feeling inspired to go take a little time to yourself!

Do the Chloe Ting challenges really work?

Image from Chloe Ting at chloeting.com

A little over a month ago whilst watching YouTube videos I stumbled upon the Chloe Ting phenomenon, I watched countless results videos from girls who seemed just as unfit/lazy as myself and was stunned by their incredible results. If you don't know who Chole Ting is, she's a fitness influencer who creates various programs and challenges on YouTube for free and her videos have millions of views. After watching these videos I was feeling inspired to give it a go myself, I've tried different ways of working out over the years but nothing has ever stuck and I inevitably end up sat back in front of the tv as lazy and unfit as ever so this was definitely going to be a challenge but I felt there was no better time to commit than in lockdown.

Okay, so I initially gave some of the videos from the 2 Week Shred Challenge a try but I didn't strictly follow the program day by day so eventually, I decided to give the 2019 Hourglass: Booty and Abs Program a try. This program runs for 26 days and you'll complete 2-4 videos (25-50mins) each day with a few active rest days thrown in throughout the program. 

I have suffered for years with a bad back and have been told that it's because my core is so weak that my muscles aren't supporting my back properly so it did take a bit of time for me to get used to engaging my core and this was definitely my weak spot so as you can imagine the ab focused videos were the most difficult for me.

Here's a rundown of the challenge day by day

Day 1 - 2 Videos (25mins) - Today wasn't too difficult but my main issue is trying to ensure I'm engaging my core correctly which I struggle with.
Day 2 - 2 Videos (25mis) - Completed both videos without too much issue, again I'm trying to focus on correctly engaging my core.
Day 3 - 3 Videos (30mins) - I would say this was a moderately difficult workout, less intense than the 2 Week Shred Challenge, I'm trying to make sure I've got good form and doing the moves correctly.
Day 4 - Active Rest Day - I did a quick workout using some weights and cycled for about 15mins.
Day 5 - 4 Videos (50mins) - Had a good workout with not much more to report.
Day 6 - 4 Videos (45mins) - This was a tough workout but I felt I was starting to engage my core more, at this point the videos were still quite mixed each day between the ab videos and the leg/bum videos.
Day 7 - Active Rest Day - I did some light yoga to stretch out my muscles and release any tension.
Day 8 - 4 Videos (45mins) - Even though yesterday was a rest day my muscles were still feeling a little sore and tight making this a tough workout to get through. Things were made worse by the warm weather we were experiencing so I stuck an electric fan on to help make things bearable.
Day 9 - 3 Videos - (35mins) - Today was hard, I definitely had sore muscles both before and after this workout but I got through all the videos.
Day 10 - 4 Videos (50mins) - I didn't make any notes on this day so can't remember if I struggled or not but I completed all the videos and there was still a good mix between ab, butt and leg exercises.
Day 11 - Active Rest Day - Did a light workout using some weights and tested out my new resistance bands.
Day 12 - 4 Videos (45mins) - There was more focus on the leg/butt videos today and I started to incorporate my resistance bands during some of the videos to give me more of a boost.
Day 13 - 3 Videos (35mins) - Not much to report, had a good workout which was focused more on the abs.
Day 14 - Active Rest Day
Day 15 -  4 Videos (one of which was optional) (50mins) - I completed all 4 videos, my workout was disrupted slightly so I had to come back to complete the final video a little later than the others.
Day 16 - 2 Videos (20mins) - Nothing to report, completed both ab workouts.
Day 17 - 3 Videos (35mins) - Again there's not a lot to report, I completed all workouts which targeted the butt and legs. I think my body was starting to feel a little stronger hence the reason I don't have as much to say about the workouts.
Day 18 - 2 Videos (25mins) - Good workout, could feel the effects from the previous day.
Day 19 - 4 Videos (50mins) - Another leg/butt day, I completed 2 videos twice so you really worked those muscles.
Day 20 - 3 Videos (35mins) - All ab focused videos, nothing much to report, completed all 3 videos.
Day 21 - Active Rest Day
Day 22 - 4 Videos (50mins) - Another day working the booty and legs, at this point each day tends to focus on one or the other, either the booty or the abs so you do feel like you get a more intense workout.
Day 23 - 2 Videos (25mins) - Ab workout, nothing much to report.
Day 24 - 4 Videos (45mins) - I had been drinking the night before so this was a little bit of a struggle, I also had to repeat one of the videos 3 times making it even tougher to get through.
Day 25 - 3 Videos (35mins) - Another day of abs, I'm engaging my core much better and feeling more of a burn during these routines which is great as this is my weak spot.
Day 26 - The final day was a tough one but I got through it and felt so accomplished, I can't quite believe I actually completed something and I'm excited to keep going and try out some new routines.

I think it's important to mention that Chloe Ting does create very attention-grabbing titles and thumbnails for her videos to increase the chances of her videos being seen and clicked on so please try to manage your expectations. I understand the reason why Chloe does this but it can be misleading however considering she's creating full programs for people to follow all for free I can't be mad at her. 

It's also important to mention that your diet will also play a large part in the results you achieve, I wasn't perfect, I had cheat days, I ate snacks but I did try to have as many healthy meals as possible I just didn't restrict myself in any way.

The program is made up of 4-5 videos that are repeated in different combinations each day so it can get a little repetitive but there's a good amount of different challenges to follow so after you've completed one you could move on to another and you'll get a different set of videos and as I've already mentioned these are all free so you really can't complain.

Overall, I think this challenge was great, it's perfect if you're just looking to get started and want to build fitness into your daily routine, I recommend doing the workouts at the same time each day to increase your odds of actually doing it, personally, I like to workout in the morning so I can get it out of the way and continue with my day as normal. As far as results go I didn't notice a big change, I'm maybe getting slightly more toned but it's not something you can really notice in pictures/measurements, however, I do feel stronger and I'm excited to try out some other plans/challenges.