Thursday, 25 December 2014

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Merry Christmas to all my wonderful followers, I hope you all have a lovely day whatever your plans are.

Thank-you for reading, supporting, commenting and following my blog over the last year. I can't believe I reached my 1000 follower milestone! I'm grateful for each and every one of you!

Next year, I plan to be more organised with my posts and organise my schedule to create better content. I will be taking a little break until the New Year to spend time with my family, but will be back again soon!


Tuesday, 23 December 2014

The Perfect Christmas Gift For The Disney Lover

If you're a huge Disney fan like I am, then the best present you could receive this Christmas is one of these Limited Edition Disney SteelBooks from Zavvi*. I have been lucky enough to receive one of these to share with you all. Having just purchased Maleficent on Blu Ray, I thought it was only fitting to add Sleeping Beauty to my collection, which is number 16 in the list of Disney Classics.

The artwork inside the case is stunning and is so much better than the boring DVD cases you can get which are just black inside. On the front cover, you have the classic Sleeping Beauty scene with Aurora sleeping and Prince Philip about to wake her. In the middle where the Blu Ray sits, is the beautiful scene of Aurora lying in her dream like sleep and on the back cover is Maleficent looking like a true villain.

The steelbook case ensures that the Blu Ray is protected from damage as it is a bit more sturdy than normal DVD or Blu Ray cases.

I have a classic DVD version of Sleeping Beauty from when it was originally released and it is amazing to see the difference in quality between that and this Blu Ray version. The picture is so clear and crisp and its great that Disney have been able to maintain the same standard of "classic" film whilst not compromising on quality when they have digitally remastered the older classic films.

Zavvi have a large collection of these Limited Edition Steelbooks, including Frozen which will definitely be hugely popular this Christmas as well as all the classics, such as Pocahontas, Fantasia and The Aristocats and many more. The prices of each steelbook range, depending on the title you choose but range from £12.99 to £24.99. Sleeping Beauty is currently available for £19.99.

I recently counted up my Disney DVD/Blu Ray collection and lets just say I could watch one a week for a whole year and still have some left over to see me into the next year! Although this is the first steelbook I have ever owned and I will definitely be adding more to my collection in the future.

So if you're stuck for last minute gift inspiration for the Disney lover in your house, head out to Zavvi now to pick up one of these!

Do you like Disney?
What is your favourite Disney film?


Saturday, 6 December 2014

Creative Christmas DIY | How to make a Lindt Tree Centerpiece

Today I'm bringing you a special Christmas DIY project in association with Victoria's Vintage and Able Skills. The idea is to come up with a DIY featuring home made, space saving decorations.

Every year, our family get together to do something creative at Christmas. This year we have made some handmade Christmas cards featuring gingerbread men and my youngest sister has previously made Christmas cakes and gingerbread houses.

Last year our family made a beautiful Lindt Tree table centrepiece for our Christmas table and evening buffet table. The idea was to be able to make a feature point on the Christmas table without taking up too much space, as you still want to be able to see your relatives on the other side (or maybe you don't...?) As you can see from the photo above, you can definitely still get lots of yummy Christmas food on the table too!

This is definitely something you want to think about making a few weeks in advance as you don't want to be frantically gluing chocolate on Christmas Eve! But once it's finished it really does look spectacular as a centrepiece for your Christmas table.

You will need:
A bucket or pot to use as a base
Plaster of paris
A piece of tube to use as your tree trunk
A polystyrene ball (we got ours from Hobbycraft)
A glue gun
Tissue paper (we chose red)
PVA Glue
Lots and lots of Lindt sweets!
Decorative ribbon

The first thing you will want to do is cut your tube to the desired length (if you've already bought one the right size then you wont need to do this, but we used an old piece of curtain pole so my Dad had to get handy with his tools to cut the right length!)

You'll then want to make up your Plaster of Paris (make sure you follow the instructions carefully) and pour the mixture into the bucket or pot that you are using as your base. While the mixture is still wet, you'll need to place your tube into the centre of the bucket (you need to get this right, as once this dries, it's not going to come out!). The Plaster of Paris takes 1-2 days to dry so whilst you're waiting you can do the next step.

Using the PVA glue and tissue paper, you cover the ball so you can't see the polystyrene underneath. We did two layers so it was definitely covered. We popped the ball into the airing cupboard overnight to let it dry properly. We used red tissue paper as we were doing a red theme but you can make it any colour you want. When all the sweets are stuck on you wont see it, but when they start to be eaten you will see the colour come through.

By now your Plaster of Paris should be set and you can use the bottom half of your tree. Next, you'll want to place your polystyrene ball onto the tube so it starts to look like a tree. We found it easier to put this on first so we could work out where all the sweets were going to go and could cover every part.

Next is the fun part...eating...I mean gluing the sweets! We have a couple of glue guns so two of us could place a blob of glue on each sweet and the other two could place them on the ball. We worked from the top downwards, covering each half until the whole ball was covered.

Lastly, we placed a little bit of ribbon underneath to cover the join of the ball to the tube, and scattered some loose sweets over the top of the bucket so you couldn't see the Plaster of Paris underneath...and voila...a festive, edible centrepiece!

I felt a little sad taking the first sweet off on Christmas day as it looked so lovely all complete!

I hope you've enjoyed this little festive DIY and have had some inspiration for your own Christmas table...let me know if you give this a go..I'd love to see some pictures!


Thursday, 20 November 2014

New Essie Additions...

Those of you have been reading my blog for a while will be no strangers to the fact that Essie is my favourite nail polish brand. I love the shades, the bottles, the names and finish. The only thing I don't really like about them is the price, at £7.99 a bottle, it's not the cheapest addiction to have, so whenever I go on Fragrance Direct, I always check out their Essie section. Instead of the usual £7.99, Fragrance Direct offer them for £2.49 a bottle!

Whilst browsing this time round I came across some 2013 shades that I wasn't able to get my  hands on at the time, so here is a quick run down of what I managed to get...

For The Twill Of It...
This was the shade I was most excited to get my hands on, personally I think this just sums up A/W. It's a rich medium brown with reflective green shimmer and reminds me of oil slick. It's the perfect colour to team with big oversized comfy jumpers and winter boots.

After School Boy Blazer...
The perfect chic blue/black shade. At first glance on the nails it looks black but on closer inspection you can pick out the blue tones. I definitely prefer this to this years offering of Aruba Blue which is gorgeous but not as subtle.

Shearling Darling...
A rich, ebony red which gives a vampy look, also perfect for this time of year. What I love about Essie is their ability to differentiate between different shades of the same colour. I have Bahama Mama, Sole Mate and Shearling Darling now and even though they are all red toned polishes I could easily distinguish between all of them.

Even though these were last seasons shades I was pretty chuffed to pick all three of them up for the price of what one of them would have cost last year. Make sure you check out Fragrance Direct as they still have quite a few different shades in stock!

Do you own any Essie polishes?
What is your favourite polish brand?


Monday, 3 November 2014

Take a peek at my new make up bag

If you're a beauty blogger, then you know that there is no such thing as having too many make up bags. I swap my make up bags pretty much as often as I change up my make up. There is nothing worse than a dirty make up bag and there are so many lovely designs to choose from!

I recently came across Sew Lomax, a British company which specialises in hand crafted embroidered bags, and they were kind enough to offer me a sample to review and share with my readers.

All the designs are originally created by Emma Lomax, who creates the samples herself by hand, and then limited edition numbers of each product are produced. I chose the Lips and Clips* make up bag which is the perfect sized make up bag for on the go. I've given it a test run and you can actually fit a lot of stuff in there! It's the perfect size for popping in my handbag and as this make up bag has two different compartments, separated by two different zips, its really easy to keep everything organised and saves time fiddling around trying to find those kirby grips in between all the make up!

Sew Lomax also offer personalisation on some of their products, including the Lips and Clips bag. All you have to do is click on the customize button on the product and choose the text that you would like to be embroidered on the bag. This would definitely make the perfect gift for the make up lover in your life this Christmas!

The Lips and Clips make up bag retails at £26 and can be purchased via the Sew Lomax website here. Be sure to check out their other ranges as well, as they also have wash bags, purses and baby items! I will definitely be popping in an order for the Beach Hut Wash Bag for my holiday!

What type of make up bag do you use?


Sunday, 2 November 2014

Hello November

image source

It's finally November and Autumn is well and truly settled in here in the UK, here are a few of my favourite things about this time of year...

Autumn leaves
Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate in Starbucks
Burning candles (especially my favourite YC scent - Salted Caramel)
Scarves, hats and gloves
Novelty Christmas items
Wrapping paper
Christmas songs start appearing in shops and on the radio
Wearing my onesie
Cuddling up on the sofa watching films
Darker evenings
Holiday movies appearing on Sky
Christmas shopping (totally acceptable in November)
Crisp, cold mornings
Big, thick socks
CHRISTMAS is officially coming!

What are your favourite things about this time of year?
Are you on the other side of the world to me and experiencing Spring instead?


Monday, 27 October 2014

Review | Handirest - The Ultimate Manicure Accessory

I think I am pretty sure in saying that one of the things that we hate most about painting our nails is that we always somehow manage to end up with polish all over our skin instead of just on our nails. Normally this isn't too much of a problem for me as I usually paint my nails at night and then wash off the excess in the shower in the morning, but recently I have definitely been getting lazy and leaving it until the next morning, ending up in a rush and getting annoyed that they aren't going right. 

Well hopefully that will now become a thing of the past as I have been given an opportunity to try a Handirest*. 

Handirest can be used for applying fake nails, painting your own nails, nail art and wraps, It is designed to keep your fingers secure, separated and stable. The base is made of foam which has shaped recesses for your fingers. What is great about this product is that it is designed for use on both hands so you only need to purchase one. I also love the hot pink colour!

The bottom of the Handirest is non slip so you can place it on a surface such as your dressing table or in my case my glass coffee table (whilst watching tv) and know that it isn't going to slide around everywhere.

It's also really easy to keep clean as you can use nail varnish remover on it to remove any excess.

The design is simple, but very effective and definitely a lot more comfortable that resting my hand at an awkward angle on a table. I would definitely recommend this if you have problems keeping your hands steady whilst painting your nails.

The Handirest is available to purchase at Amazon for £9.99. It would make a great stocking filler for a beauty lover this Christmas.

What do you use to steady yourself whilst painting your nails?
Would you try a Handirest?


Monday, 29 September 2014

The New Forest Wildlife Park

It's not often that I get to do things in my local area, so on my birthday a few weeks ago, Bradley, my Mum, Dad and I headed to The New Forest Wildlife Park for a day trip. I absolutely adore butterflies, so when I heard that they had a butterfly house I was sold. Initially, I thought that the park was going to be geared towards small children (and to a degree it is, as there are play parks and information boards aimed at children) but there was so much to do there for adults too. We arrived about 11 in the morning and I had initially thought that we would be for a couple of hours max but we didn't end up leaving until about 5pm!

Of course we headed for the butterfly house first, which was conveniently situated near the entrance. There were quite a few butterflies flying around and even new ones which were emerging from their chrysalis. The butterfly house was a lot smaller than I had anticipated, after visiting the butterfly house at Longleat the previous year I thought it would be similar but it was still lovely to watch them flying around (one even landed on my eye!).

The park is also home to lots of other animals, including several different types of Otters, Eurasian Lynx, Bison, Deer and Wild Boar and many more. The Wild Boar had some young piglets which when we saw them were sleeping in a huge pig bundle! As soon as the mother moved, they were up like a shot ready to suckle! It was so sweet to see! We also watched the Lynx get fed and listened to really interesting talk from one of the keepers.

Later in the day we were also lucky enough to be by one of the otter enclosures as they were being fed, the Otters knew it was almost feeding time and whenever someone came close to the enclosure they were squeaking. A keeper came along and threw some fish in, and they went mental! By this point it was quiet in the park too as most of the families had gone home, so it was really nice to be able to observe the animals quietly.

If you live in this area, I strongly recommend that you pay the park a visit. It only costs £10.50 per adult and £7.50 per child. I had a great day and hope to visit again soon!

Have you visited The New Forest Wildlife Park before?


Sunday, 28 September 2014

Birthday OOTN

Firstly, please excuse the attractive backdrop for this photo, I've never done an OOTN before and I'm going to need a little practice on the best place to take photos. The night before my birthday, my friends and I headed out to Pizza Express for a celebratory meal. I had the Leggera pizza which is only 500 calories (sorry no photos, as I wolfed it down!) followed by an amazing chocolate sundae (sorry healthy eating plan, it was my birthday after all!).

My friend Kayleigh and I got ready at my flat so naturally we took some photos so I thought I would share what I wore.

Dress | Matalan
Black Tights | Primark
Shoes | Dorothy Perkins
Bag | Topshop
Key Necklace | Lily Charmed
Bracelet | Pandora

What do you think to my OOTN?


Friday, 26 September 2014

The Review | Nail Magic Wet High Gloss Top Coat

Ever since the gel nail polish trend started, I've been obsessed in finding a product that I could use with all of my current polishes, so when I was contacted to see if I would like to try the new Nail Magic Wet Gloss Top Coat* I was quite excited.

Nail Magic was developed in 1960 by professional manicurist, Mrs Martha Peterson. It started with just one item, the Hardener & Conditioner which customers requested for personal use in between her visits. Word about the product quickly spread and soon after it was being sold in the cosmetics department at Meier and Frank Company department store in Portland, Oregon. 

The product continued to be popular and continued to keep selling out. It was at this point that Ron Haken, an assistant buyer for the Meier and Frank Company discovered Nail Magic. He concluded that Nail Magic accounted for a significant percentage of the stores cosmetic sales. This was accomplished without any advertising, sophisticated packaging or special offers, so in 1976 he bought Nail Magic and still owns it to this day!

Five decades later, the company has grown to offer a wide range of nail care products including the wet high gloss top coat.

What I like about this product, is that it works by being applied after the final coat of nail polish has dried, as opposed to a product like Seche Vite which is applied whist the last coat of nail varnish is still wet (something which I really struggled with!) and it only needs one coat.

I tried the Nail Magic Wet High Gloss Top Coat over Barry M's Raspberry nail polish (one that isn't matte, glossy or textured) and it gives a very professional, gel looking finish. The quality of the formula and the ease of application are fantastic and the finish is smooth and even, which is definitely what you are looking for in a top coat. The shine was quite difficult to capture in the photographs I have taken, but as you move your hands, they glimmer in the light. The photographs above were taken on day two and on day four (as this post goes live) they're still going strong!

Priced at £5.50 (for 7.4ml) it's a great, purse friendly, high quality product and I can see why the other products in the range sell out really quickly. It's also not tested on animals, which is always key point to consider when purchasing cosmetics.

If you're in the US, there are lots of places to purchase Nail Magic, including Walgreens and Ulta, but if like me you are in the UK, you can purchase a large selection of the Nail Magic range, including Nail Magic - Wet, online at Jica.

Have you tried anything from the Nail Magic range before? 

What do you think to this high gloss top coat?


Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Birthday By Numbers

image source

As some of you may know, it was my birthday last Saturday. So today I thought I would share a snippet of my day...

12(midnight/Friday) - the time I stayed up until the night before to see in my birthday

7.30(ish) the time I woke up excited because it was my birthday

3 - the number of birthday cakes I got

5 - the number of helium balloons I got from friends & family

10 - the amount of pounds it cost to get into The New Forest Wildlife Park which was where I decided I wanted to spend my birthday

2 - the number of leucistic hedgehogs I met (google them, they are so cute!)

1 - the number of butterflies that landed on my face! 

8(pm) - the time I opened my birthday presents

4 - the number of my presents that were from MAC

9 - the number of chinese take away cartons myself and my family munched through

1 - bottle of free Prosecco I got from Pizza Express because it was my birthday!

3 - the number of glasses I drank from it!

11.30(ish) the time I went to bed, filled with Chinese & cake!


Monday, 22 September 2014

London Birthday Bucket List

image source | edited by me

I'm visiting London tomorrow as a little belated birthday treat, It's not often I get to visit anymore due to work and Bradley's idea of a nice day out in London doesn't extend to being dragged around the shops (but it's my birthday so I figure I can get away with it!). I've compiled a little bucket list of things I would like to buy and places I would like to visit whilst I'm there. We are only there for the day which makes it a little hard to squeeze everything in but I'm going to try my best!

1 :: Grab a peanut butter cookie from Ben's Cookies at Carnaby Street
2 :: Go to Muji and pick up some acrylic storage
3 :: Visit Kiko and pick up some Eyeshadow Sticks (hopefully Golden Brown 6 and Light Taupe 25)
4 :: Visit Victoria's Secret and buy a couple of body mists
5 :: Buy some Bioderma in Zest
6 :: Go to Wahaca on the Southbank for lunch
7 :: Take some touristy shots of landmarks
8 :: Visit Europe's biggest Disney Store (Oxford Street)
9 :: Try an Orange refresher from Starbucks
10 :: Visit M&M world and buy my bodyweight in peanut M&M's

What things do you like to do when you visit London?
Is there any places you recommend I visit?


Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Berry on Trend

Now Autumn is descending upon us, it's time to bring back the berry shades. There are currently some great offerings from the high street to help you stay on trend but not break the bank. Here are my current berry favourites...

MUA Power Pout Lip Balm Pen £3 in the shade Crazy in Love
I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with MUA. I've tried several of their products, including their primer, highlighter and nail varnishes and have never really been wowed. It's usually the price that draws me in as they are really cheap. I picked up the Power Pout at Superdrug as a spur of the moment purchase and decided to give it a go. I £3 what did I have to lose? Admittedly it's not that long lasting, especially after eating or drinking but if you carry it along in your bag and are able to do a few touch ups throughout the day then this is a great little product and well worth the £3.

Essie Soul Mate Nail Varnish £7.99
I don't think I have to go into too much detail on this one as regular readers of my blog will know that I adore Essie and it's my favourite brand. Sole Mate has been dubbed as the perfect date night polish. It's perfect for a sophisticated evening look. At £7.99 it's quite expensive for a high street polish but Essie never compromise on quality and you can achieve a perfect gel looking manicure in just two coats.

Topshop Gloss Ink £8 in the shade Cruel
Topshop have a really great make up range, I usually head for their polish section but I now have a few of their lip products too. I did a review on this Gloss Ink on my blog a while back (which you can read here) so I won't go into too much detail but it definitely makes your lip a prime feature when you wear it. It's probably more suited to an evening look but I have found I can apply this in the morning and it stains your lips so they still have a subtle colour throughout the day.

Barry M Nail Varnish £2.99 in the shade Raspberry
Barry M have to be my favourite budget beauty brand for nail polish. For £2.99 their polishes are pretty darn good. I find as long as I apply a base coat before hand I usually get a good few days wear out of them. I tend to have to apply two coats to get an opaque, even finish but I've never really been unsatisfied with how they have applied. Barry M always seem to have a great range of affordable polishes and are always releasing new collections as well as keeping their current classics. They have just released their new Gelly Autumn shades too which I haven't managed to pick up yet but am definitely going to check out.

What shades do you like to wear in Autumn?


Monday, 15 September 2014

New Things | 001

Today I'm bringing you a trio of treats that I will be trying over the next few weeks...

Soap & Glory One Heck of a Blot £12
My skin can be quite oily at times, so I am looking forward to giving this a try. It's a mattifying powder which can be used on troublesome areas such as the nose, forehead and chin to reduce shine and produce a velvety finish. It looks like a handy little compact as it has a mirror inside and a powder puff for easy application. One that you can just stick in your handbag for when you're on the go. Soap & Glory is currently buy one get one half price in Boots so if you're quick you could pick up another item too!

MAC Fanfare Lipstick - £15.50
I was lucky enough to win this from a blog giveaway a few months ago but as I took an impromptu break from blogging, I never got around to sharing it with you all. I was able to choose the shade of lipstick for my prize and Fanfare had been on my wishlist ever since I clapped eyes on it on Gh0stparties blog. It's my first creamsheen formula and is a medium coral/pink shade. Not one I would normally go for, but after copious amounts of swatching both in store and on Google I finally took the plunge.

Essence Blush Up in Heat Wave - £3.50
When I won the MAC lipstick giveaway, the lovely Andrea also included a little surprise treat in my parcel in the form of Essence's Blush Up in the shade Heat Wave. It's a beautiful pinky/orange blush. I have been using my Sleek blush in Mirrored Pink for so long now that it will be nice to have something new to play with. I've actually found that my local Wilkinson's now stocks a large amount of the Essence range so make sure you check out your local store if you like the look of this!

What new things have you been trying lately?


Sunday, 14 September 2014

My Weight Loss Journey | Week 2

image source

So we are onto week 2 of my weight loss journey, below is a summary of what has been happening and what I've been eating this week. 

Breakfast :: I have substituted sugar in my morning coffee for a spoonful of Canderel instead. At first, I tried the coffee with no sugar but cold turkey didn't work at all. I then tried half sugar but that didn't work either. It was at this point that I decided that it was either going to be no coffee at all or a sugar alternative. Canderel was on offer in Tesco's for £1 so I thought I would give it a try and so far it has worked. For breakfast I have been having two Weetabix with semi skimmed milk (100ml) and that seems to fill me up until lunch.

Lunch :: Lunch when I am working late shifts is actually dinner as I can't cook at work and by the time I come home it's too late to cook. We have been making home made chips with potatoes instead of buying chips from the supermarket and using spices from the cupboard to season them. We had these with home made burgers by using lean mince and onion in my burger press. It was actually quite fun making them. We have been having a lot of fresh vegetables including broccoli, baby corn, sugarsnap peas and even runner beans which were straight from my work colleagues allotment. For dessert, I have been having a Mullerlight Vanilla or Toffee yoghurt.

Dinner :: My evening meal has been substituted for tea which consists of a mugshot (in a variety of different flavours, chicken/tomato/beef) a banana, a handful of grapes and another Muller yoghurt.

Exercise :: I was on late shifts the past week so by the time I leave work at 9pm it's too late to walk home as it's already dark but I have walked to work. Bradley also bought me a Pilates DVD which I have done three times. I've never done Pilates before so I'm still on the beginners section but I am already starting to feel a difference in my core muscles. I ache the next day after doing the DVD but in a good way.

General Mood :: Generally I have been feeling a bit down this week. I had to say goodbye to one of my pets and it was difficult not to turn to food for comfort. I may have slipped off the wagon and had a little bit of ice cream on that day, but generally I haven't felt the need to turn to sweet treats to make me feel better.

I still haven't weighed myself so I am not sure if any actual weight has been lost, but my mental attitude towards food has definitely started to change, which if this is going to be a lifestyle change and not a diet then I think that is the way forward. When looking in the mirror, I am noticing the areas I need to work on more and the determination to achieve the look I want is making me work harder at the moment as opposed to the numbers.

Have you got any helpful hints/tips or recipes you can share to help me on my journey?


Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Payday Treats

 I've been really good when it comes to spending recently. With my birthday round the corner I've entered into the "I don't want to get that phase, just in case someone gets it for me" but it's hard to resist when you see something you like.

I've been after a new bag for ages and I have had my eye on a beautiful Michael Kors one but not even several paydays would help me get one of those! So when I spotted a beautiful black Michael Kors inspired bag in Topshop I knew I had to get it. I actually didn't buy it the first time I saw it when I went shopping with my sister, but the next day she rang me up whilst in Topshop (again) and asked me if I wanted her to pick it up for me. I knew I couldn't resist this time and I promptly handed over my pennies! It's perfect for work and casual use and is big enough to fit in all my usual "toot" that I carry around. I'm thinking of doing a What's in my bag? post soon as I haven't actually ever done one of those before. Let me know if you'd like to see one.

Naturally after Topshop the next shop on my stop was Boots. I've actually avoided going into Boots for several weeks as I know there are lots of new cosmetic releases that I want to pick up. However, I was quite restrained and only picked up the Soap & Glory One Heck of  a Blot powder. I've read/watched a few reviews on this and wanted to get something to replace my Rimmel Stay Matte Powder as I have really gone off this recently. When I was paying, I got a £5 No7 Skincare & £3 No7 Make Up voucher though so I think I will have to make use of that...any ideas of things I could pick up?

I'm going to try and continue to be good and not buy anything else until after my birthday. We shall see if I can keep this up. I just need to avoid the shops and the difficult could that be? Help...