Categories
Hull Bloggers Product Review

Santoro Goodies*

Hello! Just a quick one today. At the #HBMarchMeet we were all extremely lucky to receive a mixture of goodies from the brilliantly quirky brand Santoro. Admittedly Santoro hasn’t really been on my radar before, so it was great to be introduced to something new. Santoro produce a range of products and accessories each with gorgeous illustrations and designs that belong to a particular collection. I was extremely lucky to find a gorgeous iPad case in my goodie bag, and I thought I’d share it with you.

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This is a gorgeously illustrated neoprene case that fits an iPad2 snuggly inside.

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The cover features a sweet illustration of a girl gazing up at a huge fluffy creature, and it’s absolutely beautiful. The design covers the front and the back and is highly detailed.

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Though made for an iPad or similar tablet, I’ve been loving using it to cart around a planner or my beloved Filofax and Kindle, which makes them easy to find when in a handbag or rucksack. The case is fairly stretchy so both fit snuggly inside, protected from the elements.

I’d really recommend checking Santoro out; I definitely have my eye on a few more items that are absolutely stunning! I’ve never seen accessories quite like this before, so if you’re wanting something  unique, beautiful and practical, look no further than Santoro.

What do you think of the case?

Remember to follow me on twitter, instagram and snapchat. Find me as @htlcy ; I’d love to connect with you!

Heather x

Categories
Events Fashion Product Review

Experience: Hotter Shoes, York*

Hello! It’s Easter Sunday, and I’m spending it eating copious amounts of chocolate and relaxing…what else is it for?! I thought today would be a great time to write up and share with you my recent review of the Hotter event in York.

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I’m already a Hotter convert as I own a couple of pairs of formal Poplar shoes, but I bet most of you will be associating Hotter shoes with footwear for the older generation; in other words comfortable, but not necessarily stylish or fashionable. If this is the case, I hope to change your mind: Hotter really has something for everyone of any age and any taste!

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Our night began with glasses of prosecco and a wonderful selection of savoury and sweet canapes. We mingled with the staff of the Feasegate store and had a very quick glimpse into what the Spring/Summer ’16 collection has to offer.

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Next we sat through a quick presentation on the company behind the product, where Mel explained the origins of the company which started in 1959. Hotter shoes originally traded as Beaconsfield footwear, and manufactured a range of comfortable slippers and unbranded shoes. Eventually Hotter became the company it is today, and decided to sell shoes just as comfortable as slippers.

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Hotter are proud of their ‘comfort concept’ features hidden within each pair of shoes, and ensure comfort from the very first step. These features include wider fittings when required, roomy toe boxes for wriggle-room and ultra supportive insoles. Each of the shoes is crafted using the finest quality leathers and other materials, and each sole is filled with millions of tiny air bubbles ensuring a comfortably light step. Surprisingly Hotter is also the UK’s biggest shoe manufacturer, crafting an amazing pair of shoes every twenty seconds.

Though Hotter’s factory is still based in Lancashire, Hotter now sells shoes as far afield as the US, and its call-centre is open til the early hours of the morning to cater to these customers. Although you can now buy Hotter’s products online, there are an amazing 75 stores nationwide where you will receive exemplary customer service from friendly and knowledgeable staff.

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Hotter’s shoes for Spring and Summer come in a huge array of styles and bright, summery colours. I was pleasantly surprised by the huge variety on offer. There’s a fabulous selection of sandals and wedges, which will look amazing for a stroll on the beach or for relaxed summer evenings.

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The flat slip-ons are available in a variety of styles and colours, and the Jewel and the Livvy styles would be particularly good for warm weather! I particularly love the pastel shades of the Livvy style, and the Jewel has a rather gorgeous floral on offer. There are also beautiful handbags to complement each pair of shoes and to complete an outfit. I particularly love the dark pink colour!

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Even those who live in trainers and active wear will find a pair perfectly suited for them. Hotter’s new h92 collection comes in an array of colours, and features thick luxurious memory foam insoles. These are incredibly light, and I tried on the Float pair. The red colour is absolutely wonderful! Bounce is also beautifully crafted. If slip on active footwear isn’t your thing, you can pick up a pair of the lace-up Feather shoes. Gorgeously comfortable and perfect for summer walks.

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There’s plenty of heeled shoes on offer, too. I didn’t try any on (blame the cerebral palsy!) but one of the girls picked up a beautiful silver pair of Donna shoes that looked absolutely amazing.

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The loafers including the Abbeyville, Brierton and Sorbet would make the perfect pair of smart work shoes. I tried on a pair of the Abbeyville shoes and they were gorgeously soft and flexible!

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The casual shoes – Mabel and Essmy – are available in a range of styles, including gorgeous nautical-inspired colour palettes and floral finishes. After looking through the Spring/Summer catalogue I have my eye on the washable Biscay shoes, which look gorgeously bright and summery. I don’t think they were available in the store on the night because I would have definitely tried them on if so!

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‘Mannish tailoring’ is a key trend this season, and when I set eyes upon the Saltburn shoe I knew I just had to try them! These brogues feature gorgeous pepper-pot punching detail crafted using the softest nubuck leathers. I quickly fell head over heels (sorry, couldn’t resist!) for these, particularly the French Blue colour. We were each given a pair of shoes to take home and review, and I knew the Saltburn shoes had to be mine.

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Aren’t they gorgeous? I took some pictures of them whilst exploring the museum quarter in Hull’s Historical Old Town.

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I’m loving the versatility of these and think they look great with jeans, dresses, skirts and even formal workwear! I have a blue blazer that would complement these perfectly.

I already have my eye on more in the collection, and really recommend you give Hotter a visit; there’s something for everyone!

Many thanks to the wonderful folks at Hotter for having me. I really enjoyed myself and I’m now the proud owner of a very beautiful (and comfortable!) pair of shoes! Do you love Hotter, too? Let me know what you think in the comments!

Heather x
PS; for more pictures and a glimpse into all things nosuperhero, why not check out my instagram, snapchat and twitter? Just search for @htlcy. I’d love to see you!

Categories
Events Hull Bloggers Product Review

#HBMarchMeet at Al Porto, Hull

Isn’t it strange how quickly things creep up on you? That was certainly the case when it came to the hotly-anticipated Hull Blogger’s March Meet. The last meet was a huge success, and we enjoyed an afternoon of drinks, demos from brands such as Lush, Weleda and Viridian and – of course – plenty of chat. Though the March meet was smaller with just under 20 attendees, it was by no means any less fun, and I came away feeling grateful to be a part of such a welcoming and warm community.

The event was held at Al Porto, a gorgeous little Italian restaurant situated on Hull’s marina. You may recognise the name of the place as not only did we hold the Hull Blogger’s summer meet there, but I was also asked to review their delicious Christmas menu with a couple of the girls. You can find these links here and here.

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Al Porto has become a favourite with the Hull Bloggers; it serves authentic Italian food in a gorgeous rustic setting. We enjoyed a drink – including wine, if that takes your fancy – and a very hearty portion of delicious food from the lunch menu, which is sure to cater to everyone’s tastes. Their lunch costs £8 a head, and it is well worth it. I can definitely recommend the salmon pasta. Find their lunch menu on their website here.

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Al Porto’s food is always beautifully presented and extremely delicious. The winter salad was also a hit with the other bloggers, and I will definitely try it when I go back!

As usual we came away with a fantastic array of goodies. Here’s just a few photos of them, and I’m currently busy reviewing them so hopefully you’ll see the whole selection soon! A massive thank you to all the generous brands who got involved.

There are many other lovely little things so stay tuned to see what I think of them!

As always a huge thank you to the wonderful bloggers who make these events so worthwhile. Sadly Kat (who did an AMAZING job with everything) was too ill to attend, and we missed her very much! You can check out Kat’s blog  here.

I can’t wait to review all of the wonderful things for you.

Hope you’re weekend is going well,

Heather x

Categories
Foodie things Product Review Recipes

Cooking up an Easter Feast with Primula: Creamy Chicken*

Hello! How are you? It’s really sunny over here today and I’m having a day of recipe-developing and MRes work (which never stops!). You might remember a few days ago I posted a recipe using Primula cheese and created a super-tasty tart. You can find that recipe here.

I wanted to come up with something quick yet tasty, and I think I made just the right thing to fulfil those requirements!

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Ingredients:

Two chopped chicken breasts,
Handful of chopped mushrooms,
1/2 chopped onion,
1/2 tube of Primula Original cheese,
150ml single cream,
2 chicken stock cubes,
2 crushed garlic cloves,
Rice/pasta to serve,
Green salad to garnish (optional).

Method:

1. Soften onion and brown chicken over medium heat in a frying pan. Add the crushed garlic.
2. Add the chopped mushrooms to the pan and fry with the chicken, onion and garlic.
3. Turn heat to low, and add 1/2 tube of Primula cheese. Combine well.
4. Stir in the cream, combining well. Here is where you can add the stock and cracked black pepper of desired.
5. Leave to simmer on low heat, ensuring the chicken is cooked through and everything well-combined.
6. Serve immediately over rice or pasta. I also served ours with a simple salad dressed with olive oil.

Couldn’t be easier!

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I hope you’re enjoying this Primula series; I have a really tasty dessert perfect for an Easter feast coming your way soon!

Have a wonderful day,
Heather x

Categories
Haircare Hull Bloggers Product Review

Review: Wella’s System Professional at Unique Salon*

Hello there! It’s very busy over my way. I’m trying to apply for as many PhDs/jobs as possible and it’s all a little time consuming and stressful. I know what I want to do but money is the biggest obstacle at present. Wish me luck!

With all this in mind you can imagine my relief when I got a lovely email inviting me to try out the newly launched System Professional range at Unique salons. It was just the little pampering treat I needed.

I decided to attend Unique’s Beverley branch, and made a little day out of it. I got in early, had breakfast and explored the shops. Beverley in East Yorkshire is historic and beautiful, and is well worth a visit if you’re around Hull. It was nice to head somewhere a little different; I love where I live as it is so convenient but things do begin to become a little bit mundane after a while!

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Unique’s Beverley store is nestled right in the centre of town and is really easy to get to from the bus station. When we arrived it began snowing very heavily which was quite unexpected! Typically I hadn’t really dressed for the weather so I was more than glad to get into the warmth of the salon!

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The staff were lovely and welcoming on arrival, and I was offered a hot drink which was most definitely appreciated! I was asked to fill out a form regarding what I expected from the appointment, and the lovely John made sure to ask lots of questions regarding my hair type, current hair care regime and past treatments. He noted all my answers on a tablet which the calculated my ‘Energy Code’, allowing us to work out what treatments would prove beneficial to my hair. This process ensures the correct combination of products for optimal results.

Next my hair was washed using the appropriate products; the System Professional Balance Shampoo, the System Professional Smoothen Conditioner and System Professional Reconstructive Elixir. This was a wonderfully relaxing experience, and I felt totally at ease with the friendly staff.

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The salon itself was really beautiful, and made the whole experience feel like a very special occasion. After having my hair washed and prepped, John blowdried my hair to see the results.

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My hair felt really bouncy and healthy, and it was lovely to have a professional blow-dry. I really struggle to dry my hair with my hemi hand, and often end up unable to do it, so it was lovely to have it done for me.

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My ‘Energy Code’ combination was noted down for me so I know what to ask for when I head back!

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All in all I was really impressed with my experience at Beverley’s Unique salon. The System Professional range looks extremely promising and I can’t wait to try out the samples I received.

Many thanks to the wonderful Unique Salon Beverley team for making me feel so welcome; I’m sure I’ll be back very soon!

Why not check out Unique Salon on twitter? Search @UNIQUEsalons

You can also find out more about the System Professional range over on their website.

I hope you’re enjoying your Monday,
Heather x

Categories
Foodie things Product Review

Healthy Snacking with Nothing But*

Hello there! I hope you’re having a great Monday. I’m just relaxing after having dinner, and thought now would be a good time to share a fabulously healthy – and incredibly tasty – snack with you all.

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A couple of weeks ago I was asked by the lovely Hannah if I’d be interested in trying out some tasty snacks. If you’ve been reading for a while you might know that I’ve been trying to include more recipe posts and easy snack ideas. Having a long term medical condition means sometimes it’s hard to ensure you’re eating well; on very painful days I’m extremely lethargic and the last thing I want to do is spend ages cooking, which is typical as excellent nutrition is just what’s needed on bad days! Most snacks are known for being fattening or high in salt/sugar, but these snacks are refreshingly different.

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Nothing But are a range of snacks available in either fruit or vegetable combinations. They’re simply fruit or vegetables…no added salts, sugars, fats, colours or preservatives. These sounded right up my street, and when I opened the box and saw plenty of brightly coloured packages I was keen to try them out.

We prepare it with care to make sure Nothing But the water is removed

The fresh produce is taken by the lovely folks at Nothing But and then frozen, and the water evaporated. This leaves a product that is exceedingly tasty and full of natural flavours. Only ever two ingredients feature in each pack, and the flavour combinations are truly delicious.

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The vegetable ones are available in the combinations of: Parsnip & Beetroot, Pea & Sweetcorn and Red Pepper & Mangetout. I was pleasantly surprised by the concentration of all-natural flavours in each bag; the process somehow intensifies each flavour, providing a tasty, natural snack that’s a lot easier to eat compared to their non-freeze dried equivalents! They’re crispy so provide that ever-so-satisfying crunch that we’re all looking for when eating a delicious snack.

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If you have a bit of a sweet tooth, you’ll love the above fruit snacks. These were incredibly tasty, including the following combinations of Apple & Fig, Pineapple & Grape and Strawberry & Banana. I had a packet of these with my breakfast and I was incredibly impressed! They were incredibly fruity and deliciously sweet, which is great if you’re after a healthy alternative to other sweet snacks. These snacks are prepared in the same way as the vegetable snacks, which produces a naturally sweet range of delicious snacks suitable for any time of the day.

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What is really fantastic about these is that each pack contributes to your 5 a day, providing a whole portion of your fruit/veg in each packet. Replacing those daily bags of crisps with a product like this would help you to meet this daily recommendation in no time! They’re also gluten free and suitable for vegetarians and vegans which is great if you have particular dietary requirements.

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All in all I’m extremely impressed by these, and will definitely look at swapping my usual snacks with them. My personal favourites were the Red Pepper & Mangetout and the Strawberry & Banana. It’d be fantastic if these products could be bought on my university campus to stop me snacking on chocolate bars and crisps during the day.

Thank you very much to Hannah and the wonderful team at Nothing But for sending these to review. Why not check out their website?

I hope you’re having a great evening,
Heather x

Categories
Foodie things Product Review Recipes

Cooking up an Easter Feast with Primula*

Hello there! I have a little recipe for you today. I was kindly contacted by Holly a couple of weeks ago asking if I fancied coming up with some recipes using primula cheese; it was an offer I couldn’t refuse!

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I’ve made some recipes using primula cheese before and have been extremely impressed with the results. Admittedly before being contacted by Holly I’ve only ever thought of primula as a tasty sandwich filling or toast topper, but it turns out that with a little imagination primula can help you to create easy – and incredibly tasty – meals and snacks.

I decided to develop a series of dishes that could feature as part of a celebratory Easter menu, but that would easily translate into everyday dishes for when you’re feeling a little adventurous and in need of something a little different. Because of my hemi hand I really struggle to grate cheese: it sounds odd, but when one hand doesn’t want to cooperate it makes it hard to complete simple tasks. Primula cheese is fabulous for me because it’s very easy to add to many dishes due to its squeezy tube, and I have been finding it enjoyable in a variety of different things. 

Today’s installment of the menu is the starter, and would also make a really tasty (and easy) midday dinner for a family.

Primula Puff Pastry Tart

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Ingredients
A roll of ready made puff pastry (don’t bother making it yourself. Ease is key here!)
Three sliced large tomatoes,
Half a tube of original Primula cheese,
One finely chopped spring onion,
A handful of crispy bacon pieces (lardons are also ideal),
Olive oil,
Cracked black pepper,
Finely chopped fresh parsley to garnish,
Salad leaves to serve (optional).

Method

1. Roll out your puff pastry sheet; this should be fairly easy. If frozen make sure it’s fully defrosted before trying to unfurl it, or it will crack. Place the pastry onto a sheet of baking paper and place onto a baking tray.

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2. Prepare your fresh ingredients, and fry off the bacon (or lardons) until crispy. Preparation before hand will make assembly of the tart a lot easier!

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3. Spread approximately half a tube of Primula onto the pastry, making sure to leave space to form a lovely crispy crust.

4. Sprinkle on your chopped bacon and spring onion and layer your tomato slices over the top, ensuring you leave the edges free of ingredients once more. Season with pepper to taste, drizzle the tomatoes with olive oil and place in an oven heated to 180° celcius/gas mark 4/5.

5. Cook for around 20-30 minutes, or until the pastry is golden and crisp, but make sure you keep an eye on it to avoid burning the edges. Once removed from the oven sprinkle liberally with parsley or another herb of your choice; basil would also be a delicious addition.

6. Cut up into slices; ours was cut into six generous slices but would easily feed more if the portions were made smaller. Serve hot from the oven or leave to cool and serve at room temperature with a crisp green salad on the side.

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I was really impressed with this, and I’m keen to try out some different toppings in the future; the possibilities seem (almost) endless!

I hope you enjoyed this first installment. Keep your eye out for more recipes using Primula cheese over the next couple of weeks…I have lots of cooking to do!

I hope you’re having a great Sunday whatever you’re doing, and let me know if you give this a try; I’d love to see what you think!
Heather x

Categories
General health and well-being Product Review

Heavenly Feet with Nine to Five Heels*

Hello there, lovely reader. Today I have a lovely little review for you all. Before Christmas (which seems like so long ago!) I was contacted by the lovely Alison on behalf of Nine to Five Heels, which has launched a brand new range of insoles to make even the most devilishly painful shoes a delight to wear. I explained to Alison that my cerebral palsy causes issues with my feet and walking, and she said these would be perfect for me. I couldn’t wait to try them out!

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The packaging used for these was absolutely wonderful! A beautifully wrapped, exciting package packed with care is something I always appreciate. The crinkly pink tissue paper housed the insoles, which were helpfully packaged in rather beautiful cartons. These packages explain the idea behind the insoles, where ‘…leading UK podiatrists have been working hard…to create insoles that really do make killer shoes heavenly to wear.’ I admit, I’m not one for wearing heels every day. My hemiplegia makes this too painful and tricky, but I am a huge fan of my Dr Martens heeled boots (they’re the Marcy design i believe) and trying these out in heeled boots was the perfect experiment.

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As you can see above, this particular pair is clear and gives you instructions telling you where to place them into your shoes. What I noticed was a strong peppermint smell, which I found unusual at first, but it’s a great way to keep everything feeling fresh when on your feet all day. Don’t worry; people won’t be commenting on the peppermint smell when they’re in your shoes!

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The insoles are extremely flexible and will fit into any shoe regardless of heel height. The groves in the insole cradle your feet in the best way, allowing you to stay comfortably on your feet even after the longest days.

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I also received a wonderful little manicure set to keep my feet looking fabulous! How gorgeous is that?!

I received the insoles in two colours – black and clear – and there’s a third option in a gorgeous bright pink if that takes your fancy.

I am really enjoying these insoles, and in fact I have even taken to using them in my regular non-heeled shoes! They just wash clean when needed and are an absolute joy to wear.

Thanks so much to Alison for this beautiful package. I am completely converted!

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Why not check out their product range here?

I hope you’re having a fabulous weekend whatever you’re up to.
Heather X

Categories
General health and well-being Hull Bloggers Mental Illness Product Review

Jumping into 2016 with Stick to Stigu*

Hello there! I’m writing in the early days of 2016, and with a New Year comes new resolutions, ideas and ways of doing things. I’m a huge fan of organisation, and particularly due to my anxiety and depression routine is essential to keeping me calm: or at least looking like I know what I’m doing! Though phones are a handy way of keeping note of key dates, in my opinion nothing beats using a proper paper planner, and they can be such wonderful things to keep daily life in order.

When Helena from Stick to Stigu offered me the opportunity to try out their 2016 planner, I jumped at the chance.

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This is the first edition of the planner. What immediately appealed to me is the neutral navy colour, which would be suitable for everyone. The planner is ring bound, making it handy to keep a pen in place, and the tagline of ‘plan hard/play hard/rest hard’ is completely true to the interior of the planner.

There’s a lovely introduction from the Stigu team in the front. Here we find out that ‘Stigu is a juggler, and this planner is for all of us out there juggling.’ Well, this was just my cup of tea!

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I’m used to traditional planner layouts, where there’s often a week across two pages and a space under each day and date, but Stigu is different. Stigu has a week per page arranged in grid format, with a lovely big space opposite for doodling/note taking/to do lists. What is really lovely is the little reminders and Stigu doodles scattered throughout, reminding you to take rests, get energized or even create things!

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Each page brings with it something different, whether that be amusing doodles, anecdotes or handy little hints. There’s something for everyone to enjoy, and at least some thing on each page is guaranteed to make you smile. I particularly love the emphasis on making sure you rest, restore and ground yourself, and as someone work several chronic illnesses this is something I can really appreciate.

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There’s also the handy addition of yearly dates, which is good to use if you just need to glance at dates coming up.

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Each page has a handy tear off corner so you can keep up to date with each week on each page, and their web address is handily printed throughout.

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Overall I have to say I’m hugely impressed with this planner. It is everything I could need and more, and each time I pick it up there’s something about it that makes me smile. It is already coming in handy as I’ve jotted down my hospital appointments and other errands!

Thank you ever so much for Stick to Stigu for allowing me to review this. I absolutely love it, and I’m sure it’ll be stashed away in my daily handbag for the rest of the year!

Why not check Stick to Stigu’s social media accounts?

Happy New Year! I hope your Sunday is going well.

Heather x