Brighton Lace: English Handmade Lace Lingerie

I love trawling the Internet looking for new lingerie brands, especially small companies with an ethical approach to fashion. I was delighted to find Brighton Lace, an English brand whose products are gorgeous, elegant and handcrafted.

Brighton Lace is a three women team, founded by Lou. They handcraft the underwear and everything is made in England. Each collection is Limited Edition. When they find lace they like, they have to snap up the fabric when they find it and then start again by sourcing new lace once that’s done.

brighton lace

It’s also a sustainable brand that gives back to the individual, global and local community. They have a supportive working environment and are committed to paying a fair wage to everyone involved in the manufacturing process. They also like to nurture the relationships they have with their customers and value them highly.

brighton lace

This brand is definitely going on my Christmas wish list, especially the lace trimmed camisoles they have on offer. If you’d like to read more about Brighton Lace, you can do so on their website, on Instagram or on Facebook.

Artisan Notebooks From Blaukatter

I love supporting independents and artisans so when I discovered my friend Marie was involved in selling gorgeous notebooks for creative people on Etsy, I knew I had to feature them here on RockPaperSpirit.

blaukatter artisan notebooks

These unique and elegant notebooks have an “olde worlde” appearance to them, making me think that perhaps a character in a fantasy novel might carry something similar around with them. They remind me of spell-books and books where you might sketch a treasure map.

blaukatter artisan notebooks

They come with faux leather or mahogany leather covers, in small A5 or A6 sizes and each have 200 pages. My favourite is the black one with lilac pages but the brown notebooks have cream paper instead. They also have pen-holders, pockets and bookmarks. I absolutely adore these and think they would make a fantastic gift for the creative person in your life. They can be shipped internationally and the prices range from 500-600SEK.

blaukatter artisan notebooks

If you’d like to take a closer look, you can view the Etsy page.

Review: Amalfi Coast by La Parfumerie Anglaise

In case anyone didn’t know, one of my passions is perfume. For a while, my life was all about fragrance and I didn’t just study it, I made it, I sold it and I helped others design their own unique scents. So, I am always delighted when I discover a new perfume house. Recently I was given the chance to sample a scent called Amalfi Coast by La Parfumerie Anglais. I received one small bottle in exchange for an honest review.

la parfumerie anglaise review

La Parfumerie Anglaise is a company formed by a group of people with diverse ages and tastes. They refer to themselves as perfumistas, which I love! They all have a passion for scents and fine fragrances and believe that fine fragrances should be an everyday pleasure and not a treat that is only enjoyed sporadically. They aim for high quality at affordable prices and try to capture fragrance trends whilst not sacrificing any of the glamour and elegance that is associated with perfumery.

la parfumerie anglaise review

La Parfumerie Anglaise has four collections available on their website, namely Parisian Chic, Tales of the Orient, English Garden and The Italian Collection.  Amalfi Coast, as you can imagine, is from The Italian Collection. The bottle is available in 10ml or 50ml and they cost £8.50 and £25 respectively. As a former artisan perfumer, I can confirm that they’re very reasonably priced as the raw ingredients for fragrance can be expensive and the bottles and packaging are the biggest expense. So, to sell an eau de parfum for these prices is excellent.

la parfumerie anglaise review

My first impression of the bottle and packaging was that it was very well presented. It comes in a white box with the brand and fragrance name printed in a classic font with the brand’s signature smudge of colour brightly splashed under the name. The side of the box has the fragrance name printed clearly and the back has the ingredients and allergens listed. For those who like locally made perfumes and live in Britain, this is made in the England, so you’d be supporting a British brand. The bottle is clear, has a rectangular design with a silver coloured lid. It looks good on the dressing table or in the bathroom thanks to its stylish, clutter-free design.

la parfumerie anglaise review

The fragrance itself is gorgeous. Being named Amalfi Coast, I expected it to be lemony and packed full of citrus but the fragrance I tried was not. It was a pleasant surprise to find that it had a very fresh, clean powdery scent that was floral and reminded me of an old Body Shop perfume oil from the 90s called Flirt. It is quite a sexy scent in that you can imagine it being worn by a glamorous starlet from the golden age of Hollywood. But maybe that’s just my imagination going nuts!

So, if you can imagine the scent from this list of notes, you can make up your own mind. The top notes are bergamot, lemon and mandarin, heart notes are neroli and jasmine and the base note is musk. Jasmine was my first impression and the powdery scent made me think of violets, particularly parma violet sweets. I got absolutely no citrus in it at all and I would say this is intensely floral. It’s a little bit musky but I could have sworn the base was amber. It is exactly like the amber I used to use when making my own scents – like baby powder without the sweetness. The complexity of this fragrance has overpowered the citrus notes and being a fan of lemon scents, I’m a little disappointed that I couldn’t pick up any at all. It is delicious but deliciously floral.

It’s definitely a day time perfume, perfect for sunny holidays and casual shopping trips. It has moderate silage so it won’t overwhelm you. The base notes come through quickly too so you’ll get a good idea of what the end result will be like within ten minutes or so. It has good longevity too and lasted around seven hours on my skin, although not so long that it was noticeable to those around me.

Overall, I would recommend this brand and this fragrance and would purchase from them in the future. I really like some of the names of their fragrances and have been browsing their site, trawling through the list of notes that are displayed for each fragrance. With bottles starting at £8.50, if you know someone who likes to support British brands and up-and-coming perfume houses, this could be a good stocking filler option for Christmas.

You can read more about La Parfumerie Anglaise on their website.

Meet The Author: Sasha Lane

It’s time for a new Meet The Author post and today I’m welcoming British chick-lit writer, Sasha Lane to RockPaperSpirit. Sasha hails from Barnsley in Yorkshire and works full-time in the finance industry. As you can imagine, the finance industry doesn’t really provide a creative outlet so Sasha uses her spare time to express herself in her chick-lit novels. She uses the books to show how women can find balancing their working life with relationships difficult and of course, helps us to laugh at ourselves. She tries to make her characters relatable so that we fall in love with them. Isn’t that what’s so great about chick-lit? We love the characters who could be our best friends and the fact that we just feel like they could have been written about us?
sasha lane
Sasha currently has a trilogy available to buy, namely Girl, Conflicted followed by Girl, Unhinged and finally Girl, Unconventional. They follow the life of Emma Storey. Read on to find out more about these books. They are all available as both e-book and paperback from Amazon and Waterstones and the physical copies are also available from the Chronicle Bookshop in Barnsley or JR Nicholls in Denby Dale.
Girl, Conflicted

sasha lane girl conflictedEmma Storey is thirty-two trying to balance her love life, friends and work. She has been in a relationship with Chris for two years and is eagerly anticipating his proposal over a romantic meal. But the proposal doesn’t go quite to plan and Emma’s world is flipped upside down. To make matters worse, Emma’s best friend, Sophie, is full of the joys of a new relationship with her new man, Connor.

Weeks later Emma is still feeling sorry for herself, so her two work friends, Jenny and Lola, take her out for an evening of tequila. There she meets a cute guy at the bar, who introduces himself as Johnny. He easily charms a drunken Emma back to his apartment for ‘coffee’ but this proves to have devastating consequences as Johnny turns out to be more than Emma bargained for.

A chance meeting with a handsome stranger makes Emma realise that true love may be possible after all. But she is then left to consider whether to keep her secret or risk losing everything.

Available from Amazon US for $0.99 or Amazon UK for £0.99. The paperback is £7.99.

Girl, Unhinged

sasha lane girl unhinged

Emma is thirty-three and planning her upcoming wedding to the lovely Joe after finally finding her happy ever after. However Emma’s life becomes more stressful as she tries to balance planning the wedding alongside a new college course and her full time job, which is made increasingly challenging by the arrival of a new demanding and obnoxious boss.

Emma struggles as she tries to please everyone: Joe, friends, family, and things reach a critical point causing the collapse of her relationship.

She is then forced to relook at her life, and what she’s lost, while trying to move on with the support of her friends. Things seem to be getting back on track when Emma finds herself the victim of threatening letters. She is faced with the realisation that someone may not just be wanting to frighten her, but to actually cause her harm.

As Christmas approaches Emma is troubled by reoccurring thoughts of a lonely Christmas, particularly as everyone around her is in a loving relationship and looking forward to a romantic Christmas. This forces Emma to decide what she really wants, and if she’s prepared to risk her heart one more time to get it.

Available from Amazon US for $0.99 or Amazon UK for £0.99. The paperback is £7.99.

Girl, Unconventional

girl unconventional sasha laneGirl, Unconventional is the final book in the trilogy following on from Girl, Conflicted and Girl, Unhinged, which tell the story of Emma, a thirty four year old girl trying to make her way through life.

Emma’s best friend, Sophie, is pregnant. Simon and James have adopted twin boys and, although she’s in a happy relationship with her lovely boyfriend, Joe, Emma feels like marriage and babies are surrounding her.

As the birth of Sophie and Matt’s baby looms, Emma contemplates her own life plan. Now she’s in her mid-thirties, decisions around marriage and babies seem more prominent. Emma struggles with her own thoughts about motherhood, and feels the pressure of expectation by those around her to conform to the conventional idea of wedded bliss and two point four children.

As she looks at her family and friends, Emma realises that there are relationship pressures and lifestyle challenges whichever path you choose and despite being in a loving, happy relationship with Joe, the question around whether a wedding or a baby feature in her future proves to be a difficult one to answer.

Available from Amazon US for $2.99 or Amazon UK for £1.99. The paperback is £7.99.

You can contact Sasha and read more about her work through the following channels, including her gorgeous Author Website. As a blogger I’m always on the lookout for cute sites by fellow authors and I really fell in love with the layout Sasha is using.

What I’m Excited About In 2017 – Part 3

The holiday is well and truly over and as of Monday 4th September, I will be back at work. I have a lot planned for the last third of 2017 and now that my chronic pain issues are on the way out (hopefully for good!) I am focusing on the future and making plans.

autumn schedule mug diary

The best thing about my break, other than the lazy days, was that I remembered why I started writing in the first place. I feel more focused and energised than I have in a long time and I feel like I’ve got the old Lacey back!

As well as a lot of new Leger stories, I’ll be closing the door on the fairy tale era of my career, returning to chick-lit and doing some more travelling. There will be plenty to come here on RockPaperSpirit, both new posts about niche brands and old recycled posts. I’m revamping the last 12 years of my blogging career and publishing it all here. I’m also planning some little parties at home – listed as RockPaperSpirit parties. They’re basically just family gatherings since RPS is mostly just me and I couldn’t do any of my writing without the support of my family.

Here’s a list of the things I’m excited about and planning for the tail-end of the year.

September

Leadhills and Wanlockhead Railway Research Trip

Release of Waiting for Magic on Kobo

The World Deadlift Championships

september

October

Vindolanda Research Trip

Second year of uni starts

Access to Pre-Order on Amazon re-instated 🙂

Release of Leger’s Ghost

Holiday in Mallorca

Weezer gig

Kilmarnock Halloween

Illuminight Research Trip

RockPaperSpirit Halloween Party

Release of Waiting For Magic on Amazon

october halloween

November

NaNoWriMo 2017 Project “Silent Disco”

RockPaperSpirit Bonfire Party

Release of Leger In The Blizzard

november fireworks

December

Edinburgh Zoo Giant Lanterns Of China Research Trip

RockPaperSpirit Christmas Day Out

Release of Leger’s Resolution

RockPaperSpirit Hogmanay Party

christmas december

What are you excited about for the last few months of this year?

Family Days Out Review: Leadhills to Wanlockhead Railway

Motherhood has really changed me. Whereas once my idea of a great Sunday afternoon involved Formula 1 and tapas, now it could probably be described as, “anything Luke enjoys.” That would be probably be linked to trains or some other form of transport. That’s why every year, we make a trip to the Leadhills to Wanlockhead Railway.

leadhills railway glengonnar review

So, you may ask what’s so special about this railway. Well, it’s not any ordinary train. For starters it’s 1,498 feet above sea level making it Britain’s highest narrow gauge adhesion railway. It’s only open on Saturdays and Sundays during the summer months and runs the short distance from the Leadhills to the terminus at Glengonnar, and back to Leadhills which takes 25 minutes, 8 times a day.

leadhills railway glengonnar review

It also has additional services at Easter, Halloween and during December when there’s a special Santa themed weekend. It’s run by a group of hard-working volunteers and train enthusiasts. The train we took was called Luce and the carriages were small and had wooden seating. The carriages really take you back to another era when rail travel was very different!

leadhills railway glengonnar review

The mine at Glengonnar was first used for excavation of minerals in the 1450’s, although at the moment there’s really not much to see at the terminus. The scenery on the journey is typically Scottish – wild and breathtaking and worth the visit.

leadhills railway glengonnar review

The narrow gauge track runs historical diesel locomotives on the original track bed of the old Caledonian Railway. The volunteers who run the service are super-friendly and will even let your child sit in the driver’s seat and honk the horn, although my son declined to do so since it was extremely loud. They’re not just personable but also very knowledgeable about the railway and its history. We were advised on our trip this year that a lease has been granted and in the next couple of years the railway will be extended, which is a great reason to go back.

leadhills railway glengonnar review

There’s a small shop, surprisingly clean and well-maintained toilet at the station, although no hot food or cafe facilities. You can explore the signal box and railway shed and the shop doubles up as a museum with plenty of information about the area to view.

leadhills railway glengonnar review

This railway is a really fun day out for families. The kids will enjoy seeing a completely different kind of train and anyone in the group who doesn’t appreciate trains will still love the trip for the scenery. My advice though? Take a jacket. A big, thick, padded one. And a hat, and gloves. It’s cold up there and the carriages aren’t all enclosed. Ours didn’t have any glass in the window panes.

leadhills railway glengonnar review

The tickets for this train service cost £5 for adults and £2.50 for children, although family tickets are available at a price of £12 for 2 adults and up to 2 children. You can read more about the Leadhills to Wanlockhead Railway on their website.

L K Solves The Problem – September 2017

It’s time for another session with our resident agony aunt, L K Jay. Whatever the problem, you can rest assured that L K will give you an honest and direct answer that will point you in the right direction. This time, we’re dealing with a neighbour dispute. Let’s hear from our reader…

l k jay agony aunt

Dear LK,

I have a problem with my neighbours. Well, it’s just one in particular who is being passive-aggressive and bitchy towards myself and my husband for no apparent reason. He’s been spreading gossip around the village about us. We saw it on the community Facebook page, plain as day. Firstly, he was complaining that we are neglecting our caring duties for an elderly neighbour in his 90s. We are not his family and care for him as best we can, but we can’t be there 24/7 and are frequently woken during the night by the police when he presses his community alarm to get him to open his door. Another time, he was hinting that we leave dog mess behind and don’t pick it up, which is simply untrue. It can never be proven because it has never happened. The final straw came tonight when I noticed he was complaining about me playing my music too loud in my garden. I can’t deny that I do play music and so long as it’s during daylight hours, I don’t see the problem. It’s not any louder than, for example, a conversation or a laugh.

Part of me thinks I should continue to ignore this silliness and rise above it. Part of me wants to tell him to fuck right off and stop being so malicious. I can’t think of any reason why he would be like this. In fact, we’ve always been pretty kind to him and I even rescued a cat from his garden last year to save his plants from being shit on. I don’t think I’ve been anything but a model neighbour. Your advice would be greatly appreciated.

Anon, Inverness

neighbour dispute agony aunt

Dear Anon,

Now the first mistake you are making here is by having neighbours in the first place.  I manage to live without them quite happily and find the isolation and solitude most refreshing.  But that’s because I live in the Fens and generally, people don’t speak to you unless you can trace your family back to William the Conqueror and even if they did speak to you, you probably wouldn’t understand them or want to listen to them anyway.  However, you do not live in the Fens and have to share your space with actual human beings, in the loosest sense of the word.

There is a term I like to use to describe this type of man: a complete and utter bell-end.  He’s a gossip, attention seeking back stabber, and I suggest having nothing to do with him whatsoever.  This means no communication in any form, not even grunts when directly addressed.  Ignore, ignore, ignore.  Even on the community Facebook page, which is normally populated by fascists, gossips and cute pictures of disabled puppies that the fascists go all gooey over.

Another tactic sure to drive him to the brink of madness is called, ‘kill them with kindness’ and I’ve used it before with bullies.  Whenever you see him give a cheery, ‘Good morning, beautiful weather!’ or ‘Hello, how are the chickens?’ or even, ‘Good afternoon, I love your curtains, they’re really stylish!’  Watch his face contort as he has to force himself to return the greeting; it has been known to see a malicious gossip’s face actually implode at the horror of being dragged into a civilised conversation.  It’s hilarious and please do post a picture on here if you manage it.

Meanwhile, gather evidence.  Make a paper record of all the slander on Facebook, any conversations you have and any disturbance he makes yourself.  You could either pass on this information to the local council and see if an antisocial behaviour order could be installed, particularly in the case of the shitting chickens, or a solicitor’s letter telling him to legally fuck off.

There will be a time when you decide to move.  Then I might suggest taking a dump in his front garden.  You can then confirm that your dog has never pooed on his property and that definitely isn’t dog excrement on his lawn.

Please do keep us posted, as I feel this might go on for a while….

Review: Body Shop British Rose Fresh Plumping Mask

I love roses and I love masks, although the one I have hanging on my bedroom wall probably wasn’t what the Body Shop had in mind, so I was extremely pleased to find this in the post the other day.  This is part of the ‘Superfood’ range of facemasks and are 100% vegetarian with no parabens, paraffins, silicone or mineral oils.  I did wonder what was actually in the masks but I’m guessing bacon isn’t it.

body shop british rose fresh plumping mask review

I have sensitive skin, which is the beauty product equivalent of a miner’s canary, so I was pleased to see the emittance of the nasty chemicals that often give my skin a tomato hue.  When I opened the sachet, I was surprised it wasn’t a delicate shade of pink cream, rather a brownish clear cream gel.  However, it was easy to apply, didn’t slide off my skin or drip into my eye and smells gorgeous.  While on my skin, I felt a tingle and was worried that my skin was going to react, but when I washed it off, my skin had a pleasing glow that wasn’t covered in wheals, which I considered progress in my world.

 

I always think the true measure of a facemask is the state of your skin the next morning and I can now confirm that my skin had a definite smoothness and was perfectly clear.  There was a sheen that I hadn’t noticed before and any lines in my chin and forehead were reduced.  For an organic product that was chemical free, I would say that it was effective in making an improvement on my skin whilst also being a pleasing product to use.  It does take a bit of rinsing off, so do this in warm water rather than tepid, but otherwise, this is a lovely product to use in an evening with your feet up with a good book. I was rereading Pride and Prejudice, if anyone is interested.

A recommended buy – 4/5

The British Rose Fresh Plumping Mask if available in tubs of 75ml volume and costs £16.00. You can purchase from any branch of The Body Shop or order it slightly cheaper from your Body Shop At Home representative. Contact your local rep for special offer details.

My Week In Freelancing 14/08/17 – 20/08/17

Just a quickie for this blog because I’m writing it after the week I’m talking about – about a month later to be precise! It’s a week I forgot to document because I was on holiday, so here’s a quick roundup of the articles published in that week.

Review: The Edifier Wireless R1010bt

Eisa Awards Best Product of 2017-2018 The Noa H10le

Review: Hey Vina! The Women Only Friendship App

Nokia 8 Adds A New Dimension To Selfies

Review: Dell Ultrasharp 27 4K U2718Q Monitor

Plox Unveil Levitating Star Wars Death Star Speaker

And one that was written during that week about some Star Wars Laser Battle Drones but under embargo so didn’t get published until 31st August. The link is here.

My Week In Freelancing 06/08/17 – 13/08/17

As the Scottish summer draws to a close, I’m finding I am constantly playing catch-up and have really slowed down on the freelancing front. Below are the links to all the OxGadgets posts I’ve contributed this week. Next week, I’ll be returning to mystery shopping and re-visiting my Fiverr profile with a view to seeking out more work to undertake in September. Then I can start writing stories about what I’ve been doing and not just posting links.

Braven Introduce the Stryde 360 Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker 

Manfrotto Introduce Ultimate Drone Protection Bags Range

Honeywell’s Lyric Thermostat Adds Google Home Integration

Review: Nextbase 512GW Dash Cam