Looker: A Novel by Laura Sims

Simon and Schuster Canada gave me a digital ARC of Looker: A Novel in exchange for an honest review. Here’s what I think. 

Have you read your first book of 2019? Mine was Laura Sims’ new psychological thriller, Looker: A Novel. It was also the first book I’ve ever read on my phone. I’m old school — I love the smell and feel and weight and look of books! — but the digital copy was the only ARC available and I really REALLY wanted to read it so I gave it a whirl. I thought reading on my phone would bother my eyes but that wasn’t an issue. (Maybe because I’m always on it anyway.) But it DID feel weird to not have a hard copy to share and read again and have around, so I bought one. It’s SO SO GOOD!  It’s about a woman whose obsession with the actress who lives across the street turns terribly wrong.  Looker: A Novel by Laura Sims

January is for…

Annnnnd we’re back! And by we I mean you and me. You reading, me writing, you commenting, me replying — I like this little cha cha we’re doing here. Much more fun than just talking to myself. Which I do do and can be fun but there is a limit. (Eventually.) It’s taking everything in me not to binge watch Marie Kondo’s new show (have you seen it?) but I know just from watching the first episode that I’d end up spending the next couple of weeks sorting, folding and donating anything that isn’t nailed down (I suspect we have many, many things around here that don’t exactly spark joy) and now isn’t the best time. Not to go whole hog anyway. (Maybe half hog, if that’s a thing.) Instead, here’s what January is for.  January is for…

What’s in December’s GlobeIn Artisan Box

I received the GlobeIn Artisan Box for free for review purposes. All opinions are my own. This post also appears on A Year of Boxes.

GlobeIn Artisan Box is a monthly subscription box featuring handmade, ethically sourced products from makers around the world. Each Premium Box is curated around a theme and for December it’s Celebrate. I shared the box with my mom, who agreed to help me show it to you.  What’s in December’s GlobeIn Artisan Box

Last-minute dash to the book store? Three brilliant books for kids

Penguin Random House Canada sent me the books in this post for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

I don’t know how Christmas Eve arrived so fast but here we are. If you’re making a dash to the book store and need some help deciding which books to buy for the kids on your list, you can’t go wrong with these three. We’ve got a charming story about a bear and a mouse with very different ideas of Christmas; another about a boy with learns to stand up for himself with a little help from the alien living in his nose; and a third, heartwarming book about a tween who lives in a van with his mom and struggles to keep it a secret. Last-minute dash to the book store? Three brilliant books for kids

It’s Harry & Meghan, only they’re paper dolls! Two must-have books for royal fans

Dover Publications sent me the books in this post for review purposes. All opinions are my own. 

Now I know we’re cutting it pretty close to Christmas, but if you’ve got Harry and Meghan fans on your gift list and Amazon Prime you can totally get little Harry & Meghan Paper Dolls and Harry & Meghan The Wedding Paper Dolls in time to put them under the tree. What a super fun gift idea for Royal fans, am I right? We’ve got hunky Harry in the swim trunks he wore on a vacation to Jamaica with Meghan when they were dating, the crisp white Misha Nonoo shirt, Mother Denim jeans and Everlane tote Meghan wore to the Invictus Games in Toronto, of course Meghan’s EXQUISITE Givenchy wedding gown, and the adorable sleeveless Shoshanna Ashland gingham dress Meghan wore to Harry’s polo match this past June. Plus many more outfits which I’m not ashamed to say I totally remember obsessing over seeing in pictures. Okay, okay I TOTALLY OBSESSED OVER THEM. It’s Harry & Meghan, only they’re paper dolls! Two must-have books for royal fans

What’s inside the December OatBox

I received December’s OatBox for free in exchange for an honest review. This post also appears on A Year of Boxes

OatBox is a monthly breakfast subscription box from Montreal. It includes two large bags of handcrafted granola blends that are 100% natural and preservative-free, plus two recipes that use or complement the granola. Gluten-free boxes are available and subscriptions can be delayed or cancelled free of charge. What’s inside the December OatBox

Trimming my Christmas plant + A giveaway!

Well we’re a week out from Christmas and I don’t feel ready, but I think it’s more that I’ve got blog posts I want to write and share before the holidays than anything else. We cleaned and decorated before Lily’s Christmas party on the weekend (the kids loved the tree-shaped brownies and the Christmas bingo) and most of the shopping is done. The wrapping and groceries I can do in a few days when my mom comes up to visit and help out. The only big thing left to do — besides writing Christmas cards and mailing a few packages, which are both gnawing at me — is get the tree. Trimming my Christmas plant + A giveaway!

Missed these? New books for cooks, creatives and more to gift + A giveaway!

I received the books in this post for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

I love giving books any time of the year, but Christmas can be especially fun because the crop of new books that come out in the fall is always so, so good. Today I’ve got some ones you might not have seen that would make great gifts for the fashionista, the interior design and decor lover, the entrepreneur (especially those in creative fields) and the cook in your life. Missed these? New books for cooks, creatives and more to gift + A giveaway!

Keep the kids busy over the holidays with Spray Art and Photo Pearls + A giveaway!

I received Spray Art and Photo Pearls for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own (with some chiming in from my kids). 

None of us wants to see the gifts we give sitting unused and collecting dust. If you’re shopping for kids who like arts and crafts, I think Spray Art (ages 6+) and Photo Pearls (ages 7+) will get their share of play time. The first is a no-mess airbrushing kit and the second a craft that allows you to make pixelated art using any image you like. I’ll walk you through them here with a little help from my nine-year-old and (bonus!) if you’re reading from Canada or the US you’ll have the chance to win both. Keep the kids busy over the holidays with Spray Art and Photo Pearls + A giveaway!

What’s inside Mapleblume’s December box #luxurybeauty

I received Mapleblume’s December subscription box for free in exchange for an honest review. This post also appears on A Year of Boxes

What did Daisy Duck say when she bought lipstick? “Put it on my bill.” (ba-dum-bum-chuh) Oh you’re lucky I don’t review beauty boxes more often, ha ha. Today for something different I’m talking about Mapleblume. It’s a bi-monthly subscription box of luxury cosmetics and skincare. Each box contains at least five full-size or deluxe sample-size products. Shipping to Canada (it’s Canada-based) and the US is free which I like, because you know what a buzz kill shipping can be. Sometimes it’ll put me off the box altogether. (I think more subscription box services would be smart to build it into the price.)  What’s inside Mapleblume’s December box #luxurybeauty

THIS is the family board game you’ll want to gift (and three other faves) + A giveaway!

Goliath Games US/Pressman Toy sent us the games in this post to try. All opinions are my own and from the heart. 

OF COURSE my kids love their screen time. (Does blood not run through their veins?) But suggest a board game that we all play together and nine times out of ten they’re keen to give it a go. Goliath Games US/Pressman Toy just sent us some games to try and ‘tho my 9- and 11-year-old really enjoyed Sequence, Mastermind and Wordsearch (all great for their ages and entertaining enough to keep us adults off our phones), they’re OBSESSED with Googly Eyes. Like spin their heads 360 degrees obsessed. (Or maybe that’s POSSESSED. Ah whatever.) If you’re looking for something to put under the tree for kids 7 and up, THIS is the game you want to buy. THIS is the family board game you’ll want to gift (and three other faves) + A giveaway!

Home Made Christmas by Yvette van Boven + Win a copy!

Christmas at our house is usually a sprint — we decorate mid-December, get the tree a few days before the 25th and tear around the grocery store hours before it closes for the holiday. But this year I’m approaching it more like a marathon: slow and steady wins the race. I’ve got a leg up on the shopping, brought in a few bits of greenery to make the house festive and tried some new recipes that made the kitchen smell like Christmas. Including a couple from Yvette Van Boven’s wonderful new cookbook, Home Made Christmas. The prolific writer, editor, illustrator and television host (the Dutch cooking show Koken met van Boven is filmed in her kitchen) shares more than 100 recipes, a variety of menus, and many helpful tips to help relieve some of the stresses that come with holiday entertaining. (And just entertaining in general, really.)

Home Made Christmas by Yvette van Boven + Win a copy!