Sunday, 17 August 2014

Wishlist - Home Sweet Home

At the beginning of this year my boyfriend and I decided to buy a house. It was a hard decision to make, however I was fed up of renting a house which I felt I had no control over. We were both very lucky that we have some money saved up and the area that we live in the house prices aren't too high. We found a house we loved in April and from then on it was all go, the contract for our rented house finished in June so since then we’ve been living here and there like nomads. 

This summer I will have lived in four different places, and my skincare and makeup routine has seriously suffered. It’s a reason why the  blogging has been a bit sparse, I haven't felt like I’ve had the space or time to take photos and write in these temporary houses. We’ve been living out of suitcases since June, however fingers crossed we will get to move into our new house in September (So excited!)

Despite the process being a bit hectic I’ve been keeping myself happy by planning the pretty things I’m going to be buying when we move in. For the past four years I’ve been at university and moving around a lot so I am so looking forward to being able to decorate my own house! Plus we don't have anything going into this new house so we get to start from scratch, here’s a wishlist of a few bits I love the look of.

1. Glass Candle Holders - Wilkinson
2. Perfume Bottle - Homebase 
3. Peony Chain - Wilkinson
4. Sewing Box - Homebase
5. Neom Candle - John Lewis
6. De'Longhi Kettle - John Lewis

I definitely know I'm getting old because my favourite item on the list is the kettle, it is a very beautiful kettle! I know I'm a loser but I just can't wait to get a new toaster and kettle.

Any suggestions for things I should buy? I've never really bought anythin for a house before so any reccomendations are welcome!

Lots of Love

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Saturday, 16 August 2014

Summer Update

Graduation Ball / Making Sandcastles / Cornwall / Pet Cows in Ireland / Sandhurst Commissioning /  Graduation 

This summer has been a bit of a whirlwind so far, I started July thinking that my last long summer holiday was going to be spent lazing around, blogging and reading books, how wrong I was!
As soon as exams were over my uni friends and I spent a week in Cornwall to celebrate finishing, we rented a gorgeous little cottage and had a lovely week. As I am originally from the Kent coast it never made sense for me to travel to the other side of the country to go to a beach, and therefore I had never been to Cornwall before. I am so glad I finally got round to visiting as that part of the country is just stunning.  Whilst there we went to some gorgeous beaches, a zoo and just spent some quality time together before we all go our separate ways.

This summer has been full of ups and downs for me, Cornwall was an up but I arrived home to some very upsetting news. Sadly my Nan had suddenly passed away while I was travelling back, I was devastated and still am. I live very far away from my family for the majority of the year and it really hit home how isolated I was by being so far away. The silver lining of this was that I got to go home for a long weekend and spend some lovely time with my family. The weather was gorgeous for the funeral and I was able to see my cousins who I hadn’t seen for such a long time. Due to the nice weather Rob and I went to the beach near my house, we made sandcastles, swam in the sea and had a nice break from the busy city.

The week we got home was my graduation ball, my chemistry friends and I got all dressed up and celebrated the end of our degrees. I was a great night, it was held at a beautiful hotel with a massive marquee in the grounds. We spent the night dancing in the marquee but my favourite part was the silent disco, my first ever one, needless to say the next day was a bit painful.

Shortly after I started my month long summer placement at a chemical company in Nottingham, I decided that I didn’t want to spend my summer in the lab so I opted for a marketing placement, I even got to write some blog posts for them! (Living the dream).

Part way through my placement was my graduation ceremony, four long years had paid off and I was finally able to hold in my hands my official certificate. I was so nervous walking across the stage in my heels but thankfully I was able to make it across smoothly. It was such a happy day with a really positive atmosphere and by the end I didn’t want to give my robes back!

Once my placement had finished I went on holiday to Ireland with my boyfriend and his family, they have a house on a little island off the coast of Ireland. I’ve blogged about it before here, but it’s just such a tranquil place to be and very welcome after the busy summer that we’ve had so far. There’s a little beach at the bottom of his garden and we took his little cousin to look for crabs.

Last week one of my best friends commissioned from Sandhurst as an officer in the army and all of my university friends met up to celebrate his achievement. It was an amazing night and it was so nice to all be together again, we’ve all lived together for the past four years and it’s going to be pretty weird to be living apart. There was copious amounts of celebratory champagne and we all had a perfect night dancing. The next day we cured our hangovers with a well-deserved Nandos and the Inbetweeners 2, a film I would definitely recommend.

I was so sure that I was going to spend this summer blogging and I cannot believe this is the first time I have managed to sit down and write a post. I hope this post gives you a little update about what I’ve been doing and why I’ve been absent for a while.

I Hope you’ve all had a great summer and lots to look forward to as it’s not over yet!!

Lots of Love

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Friday, 20 June 2014

Book Haul

Hey Guys

First things first Hayley from Water Painted Dreams and Beth from Beth Tinkerbell have come up with such an amazing idea to do a book swap! I love this idea and I signed up as soon as I read the post, I’m always looking for new books to read and this is a great way to read more books and meet new people. If you're a bookworm like me you should definitely go check it out.

Today I was mooching about town, when I saw that a book shop had 50% off all of their stock, I usually don’t bother going into this book shop as it never really has much in it and I know I can always get books off Amazon really cheap anyway. Since getting a kindle I’ve been missing real books, don’t get me wrong I love my kindle and it’s perfect for when I’m travelling somewhere, but I just love the look and feel of a proper book. I went in the shop to have a nosey around and I found some really great books for hardly any money. It was a bit of a jumble sale in there but I came out with five new books for £2.50!

I remember when this came out at the cinema I really wanted to see it, however it was during my exams. Over the summer I read a book which focused on a survivor of a Japanese war camp which I really appreciated. The book made me want to read more about the Japanese during the Second World War as it was something I never really covered at school. The Railway Man is a true story about Eric Lomax who was forced to work on the infamous Burma – Siam railway during the war. I’m really glad I didn’t see the film now as I always prefer to read the book. I’m so happy I found this book with its original cover, I don’t know why but I really hate the covers that are released with the film adaptations.

This is a book I’ve never heard of but I read the blurb and thought it sounded really interesting. Its set in Louisiana at an orphanage on a lake, the orphanage is home to children with mental and physical disabilities. I’m not really sure what else to say about this book except I’m really intrigued to read it.

“This is the story of a journey into an uncharted land inhabited by murderous tribal warriors and ruled over by a bloodthirsty sultan – and the man who lived to tell the tale.”
This blurb captivated me instantly, the book is part biography and I think that is what made me buy it. In Praise of Savagery sounds so interesting I can’t wait to read it.

Again this book is based on a true story, the story of Zachary Swan who was a mover in the cocaine trade. I read a book like this a few years ago and really enjoyed it, I find insights into a world so different from my own truly fascinating.

This is probably the book I am most looking forward to read, it is described as the classic tale of Shangri-La and is something I’ve been wanting to read for a while now. I’ve always wondered where Shangri-La originated and when I realised it was this book I decided I had to read it.
“With its luxurious amenities, a vast library, and many antique treasures, what is the dark secret at the heart of Shangri-La” - I can’t wait to find out.

I’ll hopefully be writing some review of these soon. If you live near Nottingham definitely check out The Works in town, the sale is on until the end of June I think.

Have you read any of these books?

Lots of Love 

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Monday, 16 June 2014

Empties #1

Hey guys,

It feels like forever since I’ve written on here (because it is), I’ve been so busy with my final year of uni recently I have had no time to do anything! Now I have completely finished my degree and it is such an amazing feeling to finally have some free time on my hands (well until September when I start my PhD!).
Would you believe that this is my first ever empties post in two years of blogging! There is a reason for this, I am a self-confessed hoarder and I get bored with products very quickly. For these reasons I never seem to use anything up before I buy something new, however I have recently amassed a little collection of empty products.

 Dove – Summer Glow
Gradual self-tanners are the only tan related products that I am brave enough to go near without the fear of looking orange plaguing me. Dove Summer Glow is one of many on the market, but seems to be one of the most popular. Before I bought this I tried the Johnson Holiday Skin but really disliked it, I then read a really good summary of some of the gradual tanners out there by The Sunday Girl and decided on Dove Summer Glow. I used the shade medium to dark as I like the colour that it gives me, nothing too obvious however I don’t have to put it on for weeks on end to notice a difference. The result is a lovely summer glow after a few days of application, if you wanted it to last I would recommend applying it a few times a week. The bottle has lasted me quite a few applications, if for example you wanted to do your whole body everyday it would probably last 3–4 weeks. This is the perfect product for giving you a bit of colour at the beginning of summer to help you bare some skin for the first time in months! It is usually on offer this time of year too!

Repurchase? : I already have as it is on offer in Boots at the moment!

Origins - Zero Oil Face Wash
This was one of my first purchases from origins, after Christmas I had a breakout due to all the rubbish but delicious food I ate. The cleanser claims to clear pores, eliminate excess oil and reduce shine using ingredients such as salicylic acid and cooling mint. The cleanser smells so fresh and feels lovely on my skin, it leaves my face feeling clean and smooth and really helped clear up my breakout. A lot goes a long way with this cleanser, like I said I bought this at Christmas and with very regular usage I have only just ran out. The zero oil face wash works very well with my skin type and I would recommend it for anyone that has oily skin. The only complaint I have is that it doesn’t do a very good job with removing my make-up, however I tend to use it in the morning as it’s so refreshing so that isn’t too much of a problem. This is available in most major department stores or online here for £18

Repurchase? : Not at the moment but only because I love trying out new products.

Benefit – The Porefessional Agent Zero Shine
I have been debating whether I should give this a review of its own, however I have read so many of them I thought it might be best just to write a little summary of what I thought. In all honesty I was pretty disappointed with this and I was shocked with how fast it ran out! I was still trying to decide whether I liked it or not and then one day there was nothing left in the tube! Maybe I was being a bit liberal with it but it really didn’t last very long at all. I have no idea why they have given this the porefessional branding as in my opinion it does nothing to hide my pores. It is a nice finely milled powder and does a nice job of reducing shine, but I do not think it is worth the money. I’m not really sure what I was expecting but I feel like there are a lot of cheaper powders out there that do just as good of a job. I’m sorry this has been so negative I really hate writing negative reviews but I think that sometimes they can be just as useful as the positive ones. This is available from most major department stores for £23.50

Repurchase? : No

Clinique – Take the Day off Make-Up Remover
This is one of my favourite make up removers, and the only thing I can find that will properly shift Double wear off my foundation brush! I hate the feeling of pulling cotton wool across my skin, which is why I love using this so much. A tiny amount of take the day off on my pad and with one gentle sweep across my eyelid all makeup is removed! Due to the fact this is biphasic (half is an oil based formula and half is water based) when you mix them together with a little shake a leaves a mixture that doesn’t feel too oily on your skin. I tend to use this before cleansing if I have a lot of eye make-up on that day. This is available from most major department stores or online here

Repurchase? : No, I already have another bottle to use.

Balance Me – Congested Skin Serum*
Balance Me is a brand that I love, and this for me is a stand out product. It’s a serum which can be used directly onto a distressed area or as a preventative method on skin which is prone to breakouts. I personally used it on my T-Zone before bed and it really helped to stop me breaking out, the only problem for me was that the bottle was so small. Due to the fact that I used it on a large area of my face each evening I went through the tube very quickly. It’s such a lovely product to use and genuinely worked, however the small quantity you get is putting me off repurchasing it. That being said if I ever feel like having a little splurge this is the top of my list. You can get this online here for £16.00

Repurchase? : I definitely will be in the future

Wow this post has turned out a bit longer than I intended, if anyone would like a full review of any of these products let me know?

Have you tried any of these?

Lots of Love

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Sunday, 20 April 2014

New Marks and Spencer Beauty Hall

This Thursday I was lucky enough to be invited to visit Marks and Spencer in Nottingham to check out their new Beauty Hall. The store itself has had a massive overhaul and involved the addition of an extensive beauty department which I think is going to be rolled out to M&S stores nationwide soon!

When I got to the store I was met by Jade who does the PR, and I was also lucky enough to meet Gemma a fellow beauty blogger. We went to the café to have a bit of a chat and a much needed coffee, the café itself has had an expansion and you can now look out onto a picturesque church garden. It was a lovely place to be, the perfect place to have a sit down and a drink after a long day shopping,and the view is so pretty you can forget you’re in a busy city. The café stocks food that is available to buy in the store, we were given some bits to sample and it was all delicious! Whilst in the café we had a chat with Mark who is the store manager, he talked us through the ideas behind the redesign of the shop and it was obvious how excited and proud he was to bring a better experience to the customer. In fact we met with various staff throughout the day and all of them gave the impression that they were so passionate and enthusiastic about the store. Helen gave us a tour of womenswear and I have to admit I was impressed, there were so many items that I would love to wear, especially from the limited collection. The next stop was lingerie, I have always bought underwear from M&S and it was all so beautiful I will definitely be going there soon to replace some old bits and pieces. The whole shop is focused on making shopping easier and convenient for the customer by providing them with more inspiration and when walking around the store it was apparent that a lot of work had gone into making the layout perfect for stress-free shopping.

So now onto the beauty department which was unquestionably the highlight of my day, we were shown around by Michelle and you could tell from her knowledge she was so passionate about beauty. The department was spacious and light making it a pleasure to shop in, most of the products offered testers and the staff were more than willing to provide small pots for taking away some to try. Michelle had been trained by the individual brands so she really knew their stuff, and being beauty enthusiast herself Michelle had first-hand experience of a lot of the products, perfect for giving us some great tips! The products were all beautifully laid out which added to the shopping experience and really made you feel like you were browsing somewhere luxurious. 

I was really impressed with the range of brands that they had to offer, from their traditional Autograph range to a really intriguing brand I’d never heard of called Skyn Iceland which is apparently used by Heidi Klum! I loved the fact there was a mix of well-known brands such as Ren and Nuxe but also a lot of other brands that I hadn’t heard of, I love discovering new brands and I left with a list of products I’d like to try in the future. I think that the M&S beauty hall is making a lot of the brands more accessible to buy on the high street, Apivita for example which is a natural greek brand I have been wanting to try for a while. I could spend hours browsing the brands and I will definitely be returning to quiz Michelle on some more of her favourite products. 

My favourite thing about the beauty department is that the trained staff like Michelle have no loyalty to a particular brand their advice is unbiased and their only concern is making sure you walk away with something that is right for you. Combine this with the fact they offer amazing brands which are less mainstream gives Marks and Spencers the edge over some other department stores. Marks and Spencer Nottingham now stocks a multitude of brands including Ren, Nuxe, Skyn Iceland, Apivita, Murad, Bliss, Glam Glow, H20+, Filorga, Diego Dalla Palma, Phillip Kingsley and Leighton Denny, together with a variety of M&S own brands such as Pure and Autograph.

The morning was lovely and all of the staff we met on the day (Mark, Michelle, Helen and Sarah) were so friendly they really made the day. It was clear that Marks and Spencer is a company which is committed to providing quality to all their customers. Thanks for the amazing day!

Lots of Love

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