Friday, 31 January 2014

January Favourites

I can't believe we have gone through the whole months of January already! How quick is this year going? This year I've decided to really make an effort with monthly favourites as I tried a couple of times last year and failed at writing one up every month.

This month I have been lucky to try several new products as I received some lovely gifts for Christmas. These are the items I have been reaching for most this month.

TRESemme Paddle Brush
I asked my parents for a new paddle brush for Christmas as to be honest my last brush needed to be condemned! I'm not sure if a brush can count as a favourite but I've been using it everyday (obviously) and compared to my last brush - it is amazing!

Essie - Toggle to the Top
This polish has been on my nails the majority of this month since I received the Essie Winter 2013 Collection for Christmas. I love the formula of Essie polishes and they last for about a week before they're too chipped for my liking.

Lush - Let The Good Times Roll
I've heard nothing but good things about Lush's Let The Good Times Roll, especially from Jaye and Becca so I had to see what all the fuss was about. All I can say is you NEED this cleanser, you will not be disappointed!

The Body Shop Ginger Sparkle Handcream
I picked this up last month before Christmas from the Oxford St Body Shop store as I wanted a festive smelling handcream in my handbag to use at work and I've been using it over the festive period. It's got a lovely gingerbread smell. I'll probably pick up another one this year when the festive gift sets come round.

MAC New York Apple lipstick
 The latest addition to my MAC collection, I've been wearing this the month this month so it definitely deserved a mention. It is a beautiful pinky/red frost finish suitable for day and night.

What products have been your favourites this month?

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Models Own 50% Off Sale

No doubt you may have heard by now that Models Own is having a 50% off sale as they reached 250,000 likes on Facebook. 

They are offering 50% off all products (except box sets and gift cards) when you enter the code HALFPRICE in the discount section. There is a minimum spend of £25 (before discount) so you can get 5 polishes for £12.50 or 10 for £25! 

There is still a £2.95 delivery charge, which is a little cheeky as normally if you bought 5 polishes it would be free but for the size of the discount it's well worth it.

They have also included their new HyperGel collection in the sale too.

I have resisted so far as I am being good (there are several things I want to purchase in February) but if you love Models Own you should definitely check it out! Never!

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

January Wishlist: If I was a rich girl....

(Who now has Gwen Stafani going through their head?)

Okay, I know we have only just had Christmas but a girl can dream! These are the items I would really love to have but could never ask for. Hopefully by the end of this year with the help of my savings plan I could treat myself to a few of these (everything crossed!)

Return to Tiffany Necklace
I love the Return to Tiffany collection at Tiffany's and I have been really drawn to this necklace in particular. At £105 I think it is one of their more reasonable priced pieces and I like simple jewellery. I love that the second heart is the Tiffany blue colour (they also do a pink one, but I like the blue more strangely!)

Gold iPhone 5
I haven't ever had an iPhone (my contract on my current phone runs out at the end of this year) but I'm hoping to get one. I would love to have a gold iPhone but I would be really scared of breaking it! 

iPad Mini
I haven't come across anyone yet, particularly bloggers who doesn't already own or wishes they owned an iPad. I've had my Google Nexus 7 for over a year now and although I love it, I love the look of all the apps in the Apple Store.

Michael Kors Handbag
I'm very fussy when it comes to handbags, I don't like studs, buckles or anything else on them. I love a simple, elegant style and this Michael Kors bag is exactly the bag for me, shame I can't make it mine :(

Canon 600D DSLR Camera
This is probably the item I want the most out of all the items on this wishlist. I would really love to improve my blog photography and have heard so many good things about this camera. 

Cherry Blossom GHD's
I've had my current pair of GHD's for 8 years now and their still going strong (I can hear my Mum in my head saying if it aint broke don't fix it) but I've been really tempted by the pretty designs that GHD have released.

Babyliss Curl Secret
I'm currently using my GHD's to style my hair curly and although they produce nice waves I would love to try this to try and get a more perfect curl, at £119 though it's a little too pricey for just making my hair curly.

Are any of these items on your wishlist?


Monday, 27 January 2014

Nails Inc Christmas Crackers

Christmas crackers I hear you cry, but it's almost the end of January! Well, I managed to pick these up in the sales after Christmas on Amazon for £14.75 (unfortunately they then sold out and came back into stock at £20.65!).

Each cracker contains one full sized Nails Inc polish so considering most of their polishes retail at around the £11 mark it was a pretty good deal. I did some research on the colours before I bought them to make sure it was worth it and I know I'm definitely going to wear all of them. I've never tried a Nails Inc polish before so I'm keen to find out if they're worth paying full price for.

I really didn't want to break into the crackers as they just look so pretty, there were three designs which were repeated twice, one was a black glittery design, another silver glitter and the third was a beautiful silver foil pattern.

Ok, so enough about the crackers, now onto the polishes. Inside the set was, Baker Street a beautiful cobalt blue, Mayfair Mews, a midnight blue fibre optic polish, Trafalgar Crescent, a silver galaxy effect, Kings Road, a rose gold foil effect, Kensington High Street, a burgundy/wine colour and Marylebone Lane, a sparkly red glitter. I like Kings Road and Kensington High Street the most so I will be trying those first.

Also, in the bottom of the box was a coupon for £10 off a Nails Inc service during January or February this year. Unfortunately I don't live near a Nails Inc concession or store so I don't think I will be able to use it. I had a look on the Nails Inc website and their Gel Manicures are £38 so you could get one for £28! I wish I lived near one!

Be on the look out for lots of NOTD posts coming to soon!

Did you pick up any polishes in the sales?


Sunday, 26 January 2014

This Week I...#4

Got crafting...and made a DIY boxed photoframe with some of my wedding prints in. I've been saying I'm going to sort out our wedding photos since we received them and it's now almost two years since!

Made it to week four of the 52 week savings challenge...I have now completed the first month of the savings challenge! Admittedly it was the easiest month this month, so we shall see how the next few go!

Subscribed to You Tube...only to subscribe to channels, don't worry there are no plans in the pipeline to start vlogging just yet! If you have a channel please leave me the link in the comments below so I can check out your videos!

Got really excited that series 2 of The Following is now being aired on Sky Atlantic...I absolutely loved the first series and I'm so excited for it to be back, if you haven't seen it, you're missing out...go watch!

 Invited you to ask me anything...Instead of doing a blogger tag, I created this post asking all of you to ask questions about me that you would love to know the answers to. I've had a few responses so far but I would love a few more!

What have you been up to this week?

Saturday, 25 January 2014

The Perfect Valentine's Day Meal

This year, Valentine's day falls on a Friday which means it's the perfect time to plan a weekend away. Superbreaks currently have some amazing deals on city breaks, including romantic trips to Paris. This post counts as my entry to the Superbreaks Valentine's competition which is currently running to win a one night Eurostar break to Paris for two. 
(Fingers crossed, if I win I can finally cross off some items from my 30 before 30 list!)

For those of you who don't know, I work in a hospital and have to work several different shifts. Last Valentine's day I was working a late shift so instead of having a romantic evening meal, hubby and I decided on something a little different and had a Valentine's breakfast instead!

The day before, we both shopped for the different components, sausages, bacon, mushrooms, eggs, beans (spaghetti shapes in my case - I don't like beans!) which I think is a nice "coupley" thing to do and instead of one of us cooking, we both cooked together so it was fair.

As a little bit of extra effort we even cut the fried bread into heart shapes and I used my heart craft punch and some red mirrored card to make some table confetti. As a surprise hubby had picked up a chocolate rose which we added to the table and a beautiful bunch of red tulips (as tulips are my favourite flowers).

Although it is nice to be treated by your partner on Valentine's day, I thought that it was more special that we worked together and it wasn't all left to one of us - unfortunately I had to go to work shortly after and left him with the washing up though! Cheeky!

Do you or your partner cook on Valentine's Day or do you head out to a restaurant?

Friday, 24 January 2014

DIY: Photo Box Frame

One of my new years resolutions last year was to print out some of our wedding photos from the year before, well time slipped by and that didn't happen so one rainy afternoon I set about thinking how I could print off and display some of our wedding photos and along came this creation!

Materials I used:
One white box frame (I bought mine for £9 in Ikea - it's the Ribba frame in case you're wondering)
Photo paper (I bought A4 premium glossy paper from Tesco's but you can use any)
Paper trimmer (to cut the photo paper, but you could use scissors)
Stix 2 Sticky Dots (from Hobbycraft but they should be available in any good craft shop)

How I made it:
First of all I selected the photos I wanted to use in my design and uploaded them to my computer. I then used Pic Monkey to create a 4x4 photo collage and saved it to my computer.
Next I opened up Microsoft Word and added the photo. I made sure that I made it the right size by measuring the inside display area of the box frame and making it slightly smaller.
I then changed my printer settings to best and printed the photo onto the photopaper.
I used the paper trimmer to cut the A4 paper to the right size and then used a sticky dot in each corner to stick it to the board
I then sealed up the back of the box frame using the clasps on the back.

I love box frames, especially white ones, I love the simple, elegant design and the depth just adds a special something to your photos. 

I've seen similar items retail for about £30 upwards online so I'm really pleased I have been able to recreate something that I'm really pleased with for a fraction of the price! I'm planning on making one for my Mum for Mother's Day (so Mum I hope you're not reading this!) and one for some friends as part of a Wedding present later in the year. You could even make your own mounts in different coloured card or add embellishments to the corners for added touches. Personally, I love mine as it is.

What do you think? Would you have a go at making one of these?

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Ask me anything!

Today is just a quick post and something a little bit different to what I would normally write about. 

I decided that it was time for me to interact with all of you a little bit more (something I had touched on a little bit in my 2014 resolutions) and I didn't want to do one of the many tags which are currently all over the blogging world as they all have similar questions, so as the title of this post suggests, I would love you all to ask me anything!

All you have to do is leave a comment on this post with a question about me that you would like to know the answer to (within reason, no rude questions please!) it could be blogging related, for example, what blogs do I read the most or my favourite blogger? Or it could be about me, or something completely random!

Then if I get enough questions, I'll pop them all in a blog post with all the answers!

So if you'd like to get to know me a little better, ask away!

I look forward to hearing your questions!

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

MAC: New York Apple

My new lipstick love. Period.

Ok, so there is a little more to it than that, but I love this lipstick. I was a little skeptical at first because it is a frost finish and I wasn't sure if it would suit me but from first try I was hooked and it has been my go to colour for about the last week.

I picked this out on the Debenhams website when they were having a 10% off day so it cost £13.50 and I managed to convince hubby that it would be a very good Christmas present and sure enough it landed in the basket and plopped through the letterbox a few days later to be squirreled away for Christmas Day.

New York Apple is described as a muted red with a pink shimmer which you can build up to create a bolder colour or just swipe once to create a more natural look.

The only downside to this lipstick is that is does tend to bleed quite quickly so I will need to pick up a lip liner for longer lasting wear.

The lipstick has the MAC trademark vanilla scent and comes in the iconic black packaging and is part of the permanent MAC lipstick collection 

This is now the third MAC lipstick in my collection and I can't wait to keep adding to it!

What shade should I go for next?

Monday, 20 January 2014

What's your most romantic moment?

Valentine's Day is fast approaching and whether you love it or hate it, are single or in a relationship it's all around, in the shops, restaurants, jewellers...(hint hint hubby!) So to get you in the true spirit of St Valentine, I thought I would let you know of an opportunity to win an amazing Valentine's getaway to the picturesque Claymore hotel in the stunning area of Loch Lomond in Scotland provided by the lovely people at National Holidays. All you have to do is create a blog post detailing your most romantic moment and submit the link onto their competition page. 

To get you started here is my entry to the competition...

My most romantic moment wasn't necessarily the most traditional...I met my now husband, Bradley whilst we were in our final year of University, but our relationship didn't start that smoothly. We both had our dissertations to submit and final exams to prepare for so couldn't spend that much time together, once they were out of the way we agreed to see each other again. But then, he dropped another bombshell on me - he had been offered a six month work placement working with a marine conservation group - on a remote island in Greece - and he was leaving in two months. During the time before he left we saw each other every weekend. I traveled the 250+ miles from my hometown of Bournemouth to his home town of Norwich every Friday night and back again on the Sunday evening.

As the time drew closer to him leaving, we decided on ways that we could communicate with each other whilst he was out there. He was promised broadband internet so I bought myself a laptop and webcam so we could chat. His phone contract was due to come to an end so there was no point in taking one out with him. When he left, three days had passed and I hadn't heard anything. I tried not to get worried despite my parents reassurances that everything was probably ok. Then on the fourth day I received a text message from a number I didn't recognise, it had a Greek area code prefix and I was immediately excited. It was from Bradley explaining that there was no internet (only dial up from a dongle which everyone wanted to use) and he had gone into the town and bought himself a Greek phone and sim card so he could talk to me.

I replied saying how I missed him and that I hoped we would be able to chat soon. Later that night I was woken up by a phone call from the same number. He said that he wanted to phone so he could hear my voice and that he missed me. Then he said he didn't want to be away from me and that he wanted to marry me. Suddenly I snapped out of my sleep induced state and said "what?!" then he said it again and this time he asked the question "Will you marry me?" I immediately said yes and we chatted until the credit ran out on his phone. I was too excited to sleep then and laid awake wishing that he was back now.

When the time eventually came for him to return I went to the airport to pick him up and as he came through the arrivals gate I burst into tears. We then went straight into town and he picked me out an engagement ring! Now it's almost six years later (we have almost been married two) and although we only got engaged after being "together" a few months I'm still as happy as when we first met.

What's your most romantic moment?

Sunday, 19 January 2014

This Week I...#3

Revealed what was in the box...on my last This Week I...#2, I showed you a picture of the mystery box which arrived in the week, on Monday I revealed that it was my brand new Michael Kors watch. I'm totally in love with it and have been wearing it non stop!

Picked up my pension of my new years resolutions was to join my work pension scheme. I haven't got as far as joining yet but I've picked up the pack and am planning on having a good read before I take the plunge!

Did some baking with Mum...yesterday I headed over to my Mum's to do some baking. We attempted to make cakes in ice cream cones after seeing a photo on Pinterest, I don't think they turned out too badly!

Had a lovely meal with the girls from work...on Friday night I had a lovely meal with three of my lovely work colleagues. We went to Frankie and Benny's and I had a gigantic three course meal consisting of pulled pork potato skins, BBQ burger and a salted caramel cheesecake for dessert. I definitely felt like a fatty!

Bought some new boots...I picked up a new pair of boots from Dorothy Perkins during the week as the ones I currently have are falling apart. They're a black, calf length boot and they were reduced from £45 to £24. How could I resist?

What have you been up to this week?

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Moments That Mattered: 2013

I've never done a reflection post before, so when I saw that Hannah from Away with the Fairies was running a competition in association with Lloyds Bank to win an iPad Mini by writing a post about the "Moments That Mattered" over the last year I was excited to give it a try.

 2013 was definitely a bit of a roller coaster ride for me, there were ups and downs (thankfully mostly ups!) I got to spend some lovely quality time with my family as there were several milestone birthdays and events, I got to try my hand at some new skills and give back to my local community.

February saw my husband's 30th birthday where I had a special cake made in the shape of Lewis Hamilton's race helmet. I have never had a professional cake made before and it was amazing. It's definitely got me interested in baking and I would love to make my own cakes one day! I also got to meet the lovely Jaye and Becca in February at a Benefit blogger event in Bournemouth and we have been on several adventures since. I love how blogging has introduced me to lots of like minded people who have since become great friends!

April was a month where I gave something back to my local community. After months of planning, hubby and I helped organise an American Football youth training session with our local team The Bournemouth Bobcats and invited ex Philadelphia Eagles Fullback and Sky Sports NFL pundit, Cecil Martin to come down and conduct the session. It was a big success with lots of young players coming down to get a feel for the game with the hope of joining the junior team. The session also got featured in our local paper, The Bournemouth Echo which was really exciting!

May was the worst month of the year for me as my flat got broken into. I was at home on my own at the time and I can honestly say it was the most frightening experience of my life. Luckily nothing got stolen because as soon as the burglar saw me he ran away but I couldn't return to my flat without having a panic attack. My family were amazing during this time and offered their home to me and my hubby, we have since moved and are a lot happier with where we are living now. I am slowly beginning to get used to being on my own again in the new flat but I still get really anxious when I am home on my own and there is a knock on the door, I'm hoping that I will get my full confidence back soon.

Putting May behind us, June was a big month for celebrations it was our first wedding anniversary and my little sister's 21st birthday on the same day! We celebrated by having a family holiday at Center Parcs in Longleat. I got to try field archery, which is where instead of hitting a normal ringed target we had to aim at rubber animals like bears and deer which were hidden in Longleat forest. I was coming last right up until the end when I managed to get the bonus target shot and jumped from last to second!

September saw my birthday and my first visit to Wembley stadium in London which meant an item ticked off my 30 before 30 list! I never realised how big the stadium was until I was inside. I watched my first two live NFL games and I'm lucky enough to be going again in November this year!

December was a great time for family, my sisters were both home from University after graduating from their courses. My youngest sister is now carrying on to get a masters degree and I'm really proud of her! I also reached 500 followers on my blog on the 1st December which was a great early Christmas present!

I'm really glad I got to take part in this competition as it has really made me appreciate all the lovely moments that happened over the last year and the love and support my family have given me..if you're reading this, thank-you!

Friday, 17 January 2014

Beauty Blogging: Things to consider before you buy that new "must have" product...

image source

Over the last year and a half I have been blogging, I must say that sometimes I have fallen into the blogging pitfall of buying a product just because its the "next big thing". The problem is, there are are so many brands out there that there is always a new "must have" product coming out. If you're like me and trying to save a few pennies this year then here are a few tips to help you decide whether you need to buy another lipstick or skincare item this month!

Am I buying it because everyone else is?
Sometimes there is so my hype about particular product on numerous blogs that you can start to feel pressure to want to try that item too, just because you want to be able to add your thoughts to the blogosphere. I personally have fallen victim to this several times but fortunately this has been with high street items that haven't cost me too many pennies. I've now got a collection of several items sitting in a box on my dressing table that hardly ever get used. My advice is to try not to get swept up in the hype and wait a while before purchasing it. Nowadays, I pop the name of the product on a list in my phone and if I still want it in a few weeks I will purchase it.

Is it suitable for my skin/hair type?
A fairly standard point really, there is definitely no point in buying that bright purple eyeshadow just because everyone else has it if it's not going to suit you or if the product isn't suitable for sensitive skin and you have sensitive skin as you and your purse are only going to suffer for it.

Can I afford it?
Some people I've spoken to (mostly non-bloggers) assume that blogging is cheap because it's free to set up a blog and write. However, they don't realise the cost of purchasing products to blog about or the amount of your free time that you invest in making your blog layout look pretty to attract readers etc. Blogging can be an expensive hobby, if you have the money to spend on products then that's absolutely fine (and to be honest I'm a little bit jealous!) but there is no point in getting yourself into debt just for the sake of blogging.

Can I find it cheaper anywhere else?
A quick internet search will usually reveal the best place to buy a product. I recently picked up the Nails Inc Christmas Crackers in the sale for £14.75 instead of the £29.50 RRP. Obviously the best time to buy is in the Christmas sales but during the year there are special offers and bargains to be had. Don't forget about racking up those store card reward points as you might just get something for free. Also, beware of eBay, sometimes it can be your friend but sometimes not, I have seen a £15 limited edition MAC RiRi lipstick sell for £150 (that is crazy!!) and there are rumours of fake MAC lipsticks all over eBay at the moment (my advice in this situation - bite the bullet and buy in store).

If you decide you do need it, read up on reviews first
When I hear about a new product being released, I do a quick search for blogs to see if anyone has reviewed it first, that way I get a better impression of what the product is going to be like and whether it is worth the hype. I have several blogs which are my go to blogs who usually have reviews up pretty quickly and are completely honest about the products. It is really important to be honest with your product reviews and if you don't like a product, don't be afraid to say so, even if it has been sent to you to review. At the end of the day, products will only improve if they know there is something people don't like.

Have you got any other tips you'd like to share?

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Scaredoo Hairbrush Review

Bad hair days...we've all been there. When your hair just won't play ball no matter what you do. Thankfully, I now have a new addition to my handbag for hair emergencies whilst on the go in the form of a Scaredoo* brush.

The Scaredoo Professional Haircare Brush is a two in one hairbrush featuring an anti tangle and paddle brush in one. It has a unique flip and finish bristle system which works by the inside part of the brush being interchangeable. On one side is the anti tangle brush and on the other is the paddle brush. It is really easy to pop out the inside and flip it over and it just clips back in.

The shape of the brush is designed to fit comfortably in your hand and has a non-slip texture so you can use it in the shower or bath. The feel of the brush is very gentle when you run it through your hair and it helps to prevent snagging and split ends.

I was sent the sunshine yellow/coral combo to review which is perfect for me to find in the bottomless pit of my bag. It is also super lightweight, so you don't have to worry about another item in your bag weighing you down. There are also several other colours on offer to suit everyone's taste.

I am going to make mine a permanent addition to my swim bag to make styling my hair after a whole lot easier. This brush is also perfect for little ones as the bright colours are fun and it makes light work of troublesome tangles. There is a handy guide on the website which shows you the best way to use the brush on different hair types.

Scaredoo brushes are currently available to order online on the Scaredoo website and are priced at £10.99 each which is pretty good considering they do double the work of a Tangle Teezer. £1 of each sale also goes towards the Pink Ribbon Foundation.

...and finally the've got to love a good play on words!

Have you tried a brush like this before?

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

A Grand Day Out

With all of the horrible weather we have been having lately, it's hard to imagine sunny skies but this Saturday we had one of those rare, beautiful, sunny winter days.

My friend Carly and I had already made plans to go for lunch regardless of the weather situation but as the weather turned out so nice we headed to my favourite Bournemouth restaurant, Aruba. My lunch consisted of half an Alpine pizza which had a creme fraiche base, semi dried tomatoes, caramelised onions, button mushrooms, parmesan cheese and thyme with a side salad and chips, delish!

After we had munched our way though lunch we took a wander around the pier. The view across the sea over to the Isle or Purbeck in one direction and the Isle of Wight to the other were stunning, especially when I managed to get a beautiful photo of the sun beaming down across the waves.

I also snuck in a photo of myself and Carly albeit looking a little cold after standing out on the pier too long!

On our way back towards town for a spot of shopping I managed to get a few photos of the resident Bournemouth balloon which offers panoramic views over the coast. At one point the sun was going down and covering one side of the balloon and just looked so pretty!

I am so lucky to live somewhere beautiful like this!

Have you visited the seaside lately?