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Friday, 18 August 2017

New Additions To Our Photo Wall...

A while ago I did a blog post all about a photo wall I had started in our bedroom, I say photo wall it's just prints really but I don't really know what else to call it! I had been stuck for so long with what to do with the bedroom but once I started adding a few prints and pictures to the main wall, I fell in love with the idea of creating a massive photo wall and it being something we could always keep adding to. Now almost a year on since I started it, it's just full of so many prints and postcards and I just love it. First of all I know the wall doesn't look like the best colour, but it's just the way the photo has come out with the lighting etc, and it's more of a cream colour than a white so definitely looks a bit strange and dark on photos! I just really wanted to do this post.
I thought I would show you what it looks like now compared to what I first started it, and where I've bought some of the things for it. The picture on the left was right when we first started it and the one on the right is the photo wall now. The main part of the wall is a picture of New York that I got from Primark for only £4 last year. The prints were from a variety of places including notonthehighstreet, paperchase and 1 is from an american store that's now closed down. As you can see from the pictures, it's grown massively and I've added so much to it over the last 12 months.
The majority of the small postcards are from Paperchase. They do loads of different ones for only about 60p each so whenever I go I tend to pick a few up. I love all of the london themed ones, at the top we have a new one now that's got a hamster on the london eye which you might be able to see, it's just so cute and I had to buy it. I also love the Crumpet of Courage postcard, and also I've got a few with bears on because I just love bears so much. There are a few more London postcards which are from an actual shop on the southbank, and were less than £1 each. A few other bits I've picked up this year are prints from Coconut Lane. I got the What Would Blair Waldorf Do? print because Gossip Girl is amazing, this was only about £6. I've got a few others too including the 'Prosecco, Pizza, Pyjamas and Puppies' which George bought for me a few months ago. Lastly there is a Wicked print in the top right corner, I'm obsessed with the show and the music now so it felt fitting to get some sort of Wicked print, and then there are just a few other random ones like the 'I love you more than chocolate'  one which came in my Date Night Box

I know to some it might just all look a bit random, and maybe even a bit of a mess but I adore it and love nothing more than adding new things to it. I'm not a very creative person at all but I have so much fun with this working out where to put things and looking for different types of prints and quotes. Our bedroom is definitely quite basic and because our flat is rented there is only so much we can do with it, but this photo wall has made such a huge difference. I look at it all the time and just love what we've done with it. I'll be so sad to take all of these down when we do one day move somewhere else but I think it's something I'll try and recreate in the future too, and I definitely want to do something similar in our 'office'. 

I'd love to know what you think to things like this, have you ever done a 'photo wall' or would you in future? or can you recommend any prints or photos I should pick up?

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Thursday, 17 August 2017

Beauty and the Beast Film Review...

Oh this film just makes me so happy. I'd never planned to do a blog post on it but after watching it a few weeks ago for the third time, I was like yep I need to write about this, it deserves a proper review!

I first saw this in the cinema during it's opening week earlier this year, I then went back about a month later as I enjoyed it so much and I've since got the DVD and watched it again so I think I've seen it enough to be able to give it a fair review. I'd absolutely love to know your thoughts and if you agree with anything I mention below, let me know!
Cast - Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Josh Gad, Emma Thompson, Ian McKellen, Ewan McGregor (aswell as many more)

Plot - A live action remake of the 1991 classic, Belle played by Emma Watson is a bright, beautiful and independant young woman who lives with her father in a small village in France. She ends up being taken prisoner by a beast in his castle after finding out her father has been held captive by him. She then befriends the castles enchanted staff and soon starts to learn to look beyond the beasts exterior, realising what a good man he is actually is and why he is the way he is. The only problem is they just need to fall in love before the last petal of the rose falls that was cursed years ago.

My Review - I really wasn't sure what to expect of this film as it had been such a long time since seeing the original version. I was excited by the trailer and knew I wanted to go and see the film but I definitely wasn't buzzing, I just wasn't sure whether I'd love it or hate it. Almost as soon as it started that first time I saw it in the cinema though, I knew I was going to adore it and I had no idea why I ever doubted it. Just straight away I felt like it was such a magical film and I smiled, laughed and cried all the way through. I loved the whole story, I loved the cast, I adored the music and after seeing it once, I knew I would be going back to see it again. Like many people before seeing it I was sceptical about Emma Watson playing Belle. I'm not sure who I envisaged playing her but I was definitely a bit worried about if she would do it justice or not. I have to admit I'm not a huge fan of her as a person but she did do a pretty brilliant job of this. I think she fitted the role well and her and Dan Stevens seemed to work together really well. Overall I think the casting was brilliant and I really enjoyed Ewan McGregor in this aswell as Emma Thompson. I have to mention Josh Gad and Luke Evans though aswell. Josh Gad is just hilarious in everything he does, and I always laugh at his lines because all I hear is Olaf from Frozen, and Luke Evans is well, just Luke Evans, DREAMY! I think he's so handsome and the perfect fit for Gaston, who was much more evil than I expected him to be! As I said the music was amazing. The addition of Evermore, sang by Dan Stevens as the beast was brilliant, such a good song, and I also really loved Be Our Guest. I'm definitely going to be getting the soundtrack at some point as I really do think each song is so good. I'm not going to lie, this film does make me extremely emotional! Just something about it gets to me, especially when Belle and the Beast dance, and also at the end when everyone is reunited with their families and they are all dancing in the castle. The first time I saw it, I was sat crying at the end and I genuinely think George was looking at me, like what the hell is wrong with you? I just loved it though, everything about it and that last scene made me sob.

Overall I think it's such a good remake of a classic and they have exceeded any expectations I had. I know it's going to be a film I keep forever and always go back and watch.

I'd love to know what you thought to it and if you agree with anything I've said, do you think the casting was right? What's your favourite song from the film?

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Wednesday, 16 August 2017

My 5 Must Have Apps*

I spend an insane amount of time on my phone each day, probably far too much! Because of that I definitely have a few favourite apps that I always seem to go back to. Some are just so useful and can be used daily but I also spend time downloading new ones all the time to try out as there are always new and fun apps being brought out! I thought because I've tried so many out recently I'd write about them and tell you why I think they are ones everyone should have!
Bidvine - The first app I wanted to talk about is Bidvine. You might have seen this around a little bit lately but it's still pretty new and is an app that I think is brilliant for my fellow bloggers, aswell as so many other professionals! Bidvine is basically a website and an app that allows you to search for a whole range of services in your local area in a matter of minutes! You can hire all sorts of professionals - Photographers, Decorators, Tutors, Makeup Artists, just to name a few, and the app is extremely easy to use. You can just complete the short form where you input what service you want, how much you are willing to pay and your location, and then just wait for the results to come to you! No need to go looking on the internet for hours, it's all sorted on the app. The service I'm particuarly interested in is the portrait photography. This covers everything from family shots, modelling headshots, maternity shots and graduation pictures. It's definitely an app I'll be going back to and using in future!
Buffer - This has been one of my go to blogging apps for so long now. I find scheduling tweets really helps when it comes to blog views and I find I get a lot of my traffic from there, well I've definitely see a big change in views on the days I tweet posts compared to the days I don't. I try to schedule about 6 tweets a day and it's so easy to do on the app. I just pick a post, copy the link, and add a photo and then all I need to do is add a date and time. With scheduling tweets I don't have to worry throughout the day about getting on my phone and tweeting out a post, it's so helpful! 

LinkedIn - This is an app I only got recently but one I am really enjoying using. I'm sure most people have heard of LinkedIn but it's basically a business social networking site and you can connect with your employers and other people in the same sort of business as you. It's a brilliant way to build up connections in areas you might like to work in, and you can actually apply for jobs through the app. I've not got loads of connections on there yet but I've wrote about my blog in my profile and I'm just using it for that at the moment really. I tend to add any PR people I've worked with or any people from brands I've worked with and I do that because it means you're sort of keeping that line of communication open. It keeps you on their radar and might mean they come back to you in future, they can keep updated on your blog and generally it's nice to have all these people you've worked with in one place for future employers to see. It's also a bit like facebook in that you can post a status on there so I tend to go and post a link to my latest blog post each day. I've also added a few fellow bloggers on there too. I definitely recommend downloading the app and making yourself a profile if you really want to try and take your blog as far as possible.

Acast - If you're into podcasts or just want something a bit different to have on in the background while you're working/cleaning/blogging then I really recommend Acast. Another pretty new app for me but one I'm loving so much. It's basically a podcast app and you can find a whole range of people on there! One series I've been listening to recently is the At Home With one by Lily Pebbles and Anna Gardner where they meet up with different celebs or fellow bloggers/vloggers and chat about all sorts of things including work, interiors and family life. There are loads more to choose from though and some of the people on their include Emma Gannon and Marcus Butler, though you can find just about anything and anyone on there so something for everyone!

My Fitness Pal - This is a brilliant one for people who are trying to eat a bit healthier or lose some weight. It's an app I've gone back to quite a few times over the last few years and it's one I'm using at the moment. It's so easy to use and I can easily track my calories each day aswell as water intake and exercise. You can put it in your weight, height and the amount you're wanting to lose and it will give you a set amount of calories each day to stick to, it's as easy as that! I love going on each morning, putting in all my meals for the day and then I can see how much is left to go on snacks and I find this really helps me stay on track. It's also such a good feeling to see at the end of the day that you've stayed within calories and are one step closer to your goal!
Have you tried any of these apps? What are your go to apps?

*Collaborative post with Bidvine. As always I only work with brands I feel are relevant to me and my blog.

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Tuesday, 15 August 2017

My Yummy Marble Cake Recipe...

It's been such a long time since I last did a baking post! I've missed doing them so much, but to be honest now a lot of the time if I'm going to bake I just stick to my favourites like Blondies or School Sponge Cake. They always go down well and they are so easy to make. Thought I do tend to stick to the same things now, it is nice to try something new every so often so last month I decided to give Marble Cake a go. I think I might have attempted this years ago but never have done since so this was a really nice change.  As you can see from the pictures, it didn't end up being that marbled, I probably didn't spend enough time trying to get that effect but it went okay, and it tasted absolutely delicious which is the main thing!
Ingredients: (Plain Mix)
175g self raising flour
175g butter
175g caster sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

Ingredients: (Chocolate Mix)
150g self raising flour
175g butter
175g caster sugar
3 eggs
25g cocoa

Method:
1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees and grease a large square baking tin
2. For the Plain mix, in one bowl, add the butter and sugar and mix together until smooth
3. Add in eggs, 1 by 1 and 1 tsp of vanilla extract. Mix well, then sift in 175g of self raising flour
4. Mix well, then set aside
5. Now grab a seperate bowl and you can start on the chocolate mix. Add in the butter and sugar, mix together until smooth
6. Add in the 3 eggs, 1 by 1, then sift in the flour, and the cocoa powder. Mix well, ensuring everything is combined
7. Now pour both mixes into the prepared cake tin. You now need to try and mix it all up to get that marbled effect. I used a wooden skewer and just kept swirling it all over to get the marble pattern
8. When your happy with how the mix looks and feel it's all marbled together, bake in the oven for at least 40 minutes. As it's such a big mix it might take a little longer, just keep checking, if a skewer comes out clean then it's done!

You can then leave to cool on a wire rack for around 20 minutes then cut into squares.
This was so much fun to make and really did taste amazing. It's definitely worth the time and effort and really will go down a treat if you decide to give this a go. Just be aware that this makes absolutely loads so you might only want to make it if you've got quite a few people to share it with or can hand it out!

Have you ever attempted making Marble Cake? What's your favourite thing to bake?

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