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Thursday, 31 August 2017

The Grown Up Chocolate Company Review*

Given that this little blog started out primarily as a food blog, I feel like it's time I try and get back to that. As much as I love writing about beauty and lifestyle topics, food is basically my one true love and I really miss posting lots of recipes and foodie reviews. I know I do still post them but I feel like I've drifted away from that quite a lot over the last few months so starting today I'm going to try and get back into it! I don't really think I could get back into my foodie posts with anything better than a review of some delicious chocolates from the very generous people at The Grown Up Chocolate Company. I mean, chocolate is life isn't it?!
I'd seen The Grown Up Chocolate Company on social media quite a few times and always wanted to try some of their chocolates, they just looked amazing every time I saw a picture of them! They do such a big range of tasty treats and I really don't know why it's taken me so long to finally get round to trying some but I'm so glad I finally have. Anyway, let me start with telling you a bit about the brand. They started up in 2011 and basically made it their mission to create the most indulgent and decadant chocolates ranging from bars to truffles to cups aswell as other things and they've basically just grown and grown ever since. I was lucky enough to be sent some of their new products out to try and OMG I've become a little bit obsessed!

The first of the four boxes that I tried (with a bit of help from George, as we both love our chocolate) was the Spectacular Speculicious Praline Cups. First of all the name is just amazing but the taste really was incredible. This box along with the others contained 6 cups, and these were filled with spiced biscuit and hazelnut praline, containing subtle nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves and other warm spices. Not only did these look super tasty but straight away I could smell the spices, they instantly made me feel ready for Autumn. Perfectly round and dense with a hint of crunch on top, just melted in my mouth, they were lovely.
Next up was the Heavenly Whole Hazelnut Praline Cups. These are actually the ones featured at the top and bottom of this post, I may have got through the others too quickly to take a picture of them! These were 6 smooth praline cups filled with a whole hazelnut and crispy rice crunch. I love chocolate containing puffed rice, I just like the texture and crunch of it and anything with hazelnuts is a winner for me. I really don't have a bad word to say about these, they were so good, the chocolate was just dreamy.
Now we have the ones I was most scepitcal about, the Perfectly Buttery Peanutty Cups. Despite my huge love for Peanut Butter Cookies, I'm not a big fan of the spread itself and I'm not someone who could eat a load of Reeses chocolate so I really didn't know what to expect with these. I actually feel a bit bad for doubting them though as I absolutely loved them! Something about these was just perfect for me. They do contain a little bit of caramel and as they are encased in creamy milk chocolate, the peanut hit wasn't too much and I could definitely taste the caramel with each bite so it was just a great combination. Out of all of them I think these would be the ones I'd go and buy first so that proves how good they are as I really didn't know what to expect! These are fab for those who only like peanut butter in small doses, the caramel is just brilliant with it.
Lastly we have the Gorgeously Gooey Caramel Truffle Cups. These are chocolate cups filled with a mini caramel truffle and soft running caramel. What I loved about these is they had quite a strong taste of buttery toffee, aswell as caramel and chocolate and together all the flavours were just amazing. They were really filling and such a perfect sweet treat. They were definitely indulgent but who doesn't a like box of chocolates like that? Just everything about them was delicious.
I honestly couldn't rave more about The Grown Up Chocolate Company I don't think. Just every single box I tried was incredible and I wanted more of each. I think the 6 chocolates in each box was a great amount, as they are quite filling and sweet, and sometimes you just can't handle more than that so one of these boxes is brilliant to open on a friday or saturday night when you just want a little treat! If I had to pick a favourite I'd probably go for the Peanut Butter Cups but really all were so good and I wouldn't hesitate to pick more up of these in future! I just wanted to say, aswell as tasting pretty incredible, I also love the packaging of each of these. The Grown Up Chocolate Company have such quirky designs on all of their bars and boxes and I just love it. It definitely stands out and I like that each box is a little bit different. I think these would make great gifts too maybe for christmas or a birthday, it would make a change from the usual branded chocolate I think and I'll definitely be getting some for people in the future.
If you want to see more of The Grown Up Chocolate Company and want to know what other products they do, check out their website here! You can buy products from their own website or a list of retailers can be found there too. I couldn't recommend them enough!!

Have you ever tried anything from this brand before? Do you think you'd like any of these?

*I was sent a selection of chocolates to review, as always I only work with brands I feel are relevant to me and my blog

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Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Lush Sex Bomb Bath Bomb Review...

The Sex Bomb Bath Bomb from Lush has been one of my favourite for such a long time. I'm pretty sure it was one of the first I ever tried and since then it's been one I repurchase over and over. I mentioned it in my current Lush stash that I posted a few weeks ago and out of all what I had, I decided to use this first and I thought it was about time I finally post a review of it. I've posted quite a few Lush reviews over the last few years and I think this is a nice one to add to the list!
First of all, isn't the bath bomb so pretty? I just love the colour of it, such a pretty pastel lilac and pink and as with most bath bombs it's a pretty decent size so you really do get your moneys worth with it. It's one I'm always drawn to when I'm in a Lush store! The smell, being one of the most important things about this, is just lovely. It contains Jasmine Absolute which is an ancient aphrodisiac, used as a sensual perfume in India for centuries which has an earthy and floral aroma. It also contains Ylang Ylang Oil which has a sweet aroma, often used in aromatherapy, and also Clary Sage Oil which is supposed to be really warming and relaxing. Not only do all of these combined make a beautiful scent, they are all also known for being great if you're particuarly tired or stressed. That's what I really like about this bath bomb, it's genuinely supposed to help you de-stress, something I've desperately needed to do recently, and I really do feel it works. After using this, I got out the bath feeling so positive and just generally in a much better mood.
Now onto what it looked like in the water. I definitely didn't get the best pictures this time, but I was just in such a rush to get in and relax! It made the water go a beautiful light pink colour and as it fizzed it's way around, lots of pretty patterns emerged and darker tones of pink and purple came out. It looked so inviting and I personally love a colourful bath like this! I'd added a bit of bubble bath before dropping this in the water aswell as I love my bubbles and wanted a really comforting, hot bath.
This is just one of my all time favourites and I don't think I'll ever stop buying it! I love everything about it, the scent, what it looks like, what it does in the water, how relaxing it is. It's just brilliant and one I really recommend giving a go if you're new to Lush and aren't sure what to try! It's £3.75 which I don't think is too bad and as I said at the start of this post, it's so worth it, it can be found online here.

Have you ever tried this bath bomb before? What's your favourite Lush product?

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Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Pretty Little Liars - Thoughts & Questions...

It wasn't until recently that I gave into the hype of Pretty Little Liars and finally watched it. It started in 2010 and finished in June this year and for some reason I was just never that interested, and couldn't really see why it was that popular. After the finale though it was all I could see on my twitter timeline and even though I had no idea what was going on, it made me want to start it, so I did and within a month I'd got through all 7 seasons! Now I've finished it though, I have some serious questions and feel so strongly about some things so I really wanted to do a blog post on it. I know there are probably some big PLL fans so I'd love to know your thoughts on the show but if you are currently watching it or want to start it soon, there are going to be spoilers in this post so don't feel like you have to carry on reading! I'm not going to talk about things in a particular order, just going to write about certain things I really feel like discussing with people!
Source

Spaleb - Okay I had to start with this, because WHAT THE HELL?! I was literally fuming when this happened. Spencer and Caleb together is so wrong and I really don't know why anyone thought that was a good storyline. I've been a big fan of Hanna and Caleb together since they first met and I loved their relationship throughout it all, so to not only split them up several times, but to then make one of Hanna's best friends, get with her ex boyfriend? Is it just me that thinks that's so wrong? I know Hanna and Caleb get their happy ending in series 7 but I think the spaleb stuff tainted it all, and if it were real life I'm not sure how you would all just move on from it like it never happened? Spencer seemed to be full on in love with Caleb and it was just weird, she was like a completely different person after the time jump and I couldn't stand her. I just think this was all so random to cause a bit of drama and just didn't work.

Caleb Changed - This is sort of relevant to the point above, but needed it's own as I have so much to say! Caleb was definitely one of my favourite characters all the way through, especially at the start when him and Hanna first started talking and got together. I love how he always helped the girls out and would have done anything for Hanna, but then something seemed to change after he came back from Ravenswood. First of all, that was so bizarre that he just stayed there after the halloween episode to help this random girl he'd only just met and then he seemed to come back such a different person. I know Ravenswood was a spin off series, and I've not watched that, but I have read a bit online and it seems like whatever happened there made him rethink his whole life, but I just don't think that show even needed to happen. As much as I love Caleb, taking him away to do a spinoff show is so random and I didn't like how they changed his character afterwards. I don't know, it's not like it was a drastic change and he was suddenly a bad person or anything, but he wasn't the character he was in the beginning and then obviously the whole Spaleb thing which happened later on, is just another random thing they did with his character. I really don't like the route they went down with him, and as I said above, even though him and Hanna ended up together in the end, after he came back from Ravenswood, I just didn't love his character as much as before and it sort of changed my view on him a bit.

Alison - For a long time I really didn't like Alison as I imagine most people didn't. In the earlier seasons she isn't a very nice person at all and it isn't until she is revealed to be alive and she explains what happened to her and her reasons for everything, that you start to feel a bit sorry for her. She's still not perfect at all and I definitely had a bit of a love/hate relationship with her character but towards the end she really grew on me. I love that her and Emily ended up together and I was so happy it finally properly happened. I think part of the reason I grew to like her character a bit more too was because of some of the stuff being said about her in the press. Quite a few people picked up towards the last few series that the actress Sasha Pieterse had gained weight, and there is nothing wrong with that at all, and I love that she stuck up for herself and told people to love themselves whatever they weigh. I think it's still thought of a lot that you have to be thin and pretty to be successful and on TV and that just isn't true. I think she looked better in the later seasons!

The 5 Year Jump - What was the need for this? After the first half of series 6, we then end up 5 years later and all the girls are doing different things with their lives. I know the A storyline couldn't really just keep going and going and they had to change things but the jump was just too big I think. Most of the girls and other characters had just completely changed, and even though I get as you get older you might drift apart from people and change a little, some just seemed so different it was unreal! As I've already mentioned I really didn't like Spencer after the time jump, I don't think before she'd have ever gone for one of her best friends ex boyfriends and generally she just didn't come across as a very nice person anymore. Also, I felt Emily had changed quite a lot, and I know it was supposedly because her dad had passed away (he was genuinely one of my faves) but again she just seemed like a different character, and also it really annoys me that basically any woman that comes into the show, you know is going to end up being a love interest for Emily! Just too predictable.

Aria & Ezra - I feel like this is one a lot of people have something to say about. As much as I love Aria and Ezra together, and I am glad they did get married, I couldn't help but feel sometimes, it was just so wrong for them to be together. Does anyone else feel like that? It was all a bit suspect as they first got together when she was only 15, and we later find out he actually knew that she was that age, then they carried on even though he became her teacher, and then they still got back together after she found out he had basically used her as he was writing a book about Alisons case. I don't think Ezra was a bad man and I do think his character genuinely was in love with Aria but the problem for me is that is started out when she was still so young and he knew who she was and went after her and then kept it going. I really don't know how I feel about it all, on one hand I think he didn't mean for all of that to happen and he was trying to do everything with good intentions, but then on the other hand, I can't help but feel it was just so wrong for him to go after her knowing her age. Towards the end I actually really did like Aria and Jason together (Alisons brother), once it had been revealed they had been together for a little while during the time jump.

A & AD - I suppose the main talking point throughout most of the seasons was who is A? I quite liked the first reveal of Mona being A and I do think that made sense just from what had been shown of her past with the girls. I generally quite liked Mona all the way through and do think she was such a good character. The second reveal later on of A then being Charlotte was also pretty good I think and I love that they had come up with such an interesting back story for her. I had a feeling for a while that Charlotte might be A but could never have guessed that Charlotte was actually Charles, and that whole story, it was a little confusing at times but definitely made me feel a little sorry for her! I quite liked before she was revealed, the episodes which hinted Ezra might be A, that would have been an amazing storyline I think! Now onto AD. As I kind of watched it all at once I didn't have loads of time between each episode to come up with theories and properly think into it, so even though I'd seen bits online before about a twin theory, as I'd never watched it at the time I had no idea what was going on. There were definitely times I thought it might be a twin and the airport scene where 'Spencer' and Wren run into Ezra, basically confirmed it for me. I just knew it wasn't her and there was something weird going on. I did quite like that it turned out to be an evil twin, though I think they needed more build up to it, I feel the last episode in particular was a little bit rushed, and there were still things that needed explaining and tying together. I did love right at the end where we saw Mona in France, having Alex and Mary as her own dolls hidden away, I'm glad it wasn't just as simple as them going to prison or something like that.

Overall I did love Pretty Little Liars and I already feel like going back and watching it again! I was just hooked all the way though, even on the slower episodes, I knew anything could happen at any point, so I always kept going with it. I think if I'd been watching it each year like most people, they'd have been times when I'd have struggled to stick with it, because some seasons were a little slow. I just wanna mention though, the dollhouse episodes! I thought they were amazing, and they were actually a little bit mental to watch, I loved Mona coming back almost disguised as Alison after being convinced she had been killed off. I thought those episodes in particular were brilliant. And overall I'm glad they all did get a happy ending, I definitely have my favourites out of the girls and the rest of the cast but I do think it ended well.

If you've managed to watch it all, what did you think to the ending? Do you agree with any of the points I've mentioned? I really hope I'm not alone in being annoyed with certain things! I just felt I had to write this post!

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Monday, 28 August 2017

Peachy Packages Little Box - Unboxing & Review*

I love a subscription box and I've tried a few in the past, most recently the beauty one a lot of people love, Birchbox, (check out my unboxing and review here if you're interested) but never one like the one I'm about to talk about - Peachy Packages. If you're not too familar with the fabulous Peachy Packages, it's basically a box delivered monthly that is full of useful surprises, ones for you to enjoy, ones to help you achieve and some are just straight up delicious treats. Andrea, the woman behind Peachy Packages understands the importance of self care and so wanted to give people something that could help them take a break and relax. Sounds perfect doesn't it?
This year has been tough for a variety of reasons and I really haven't taken enough time out for some self care, so I knew this box would be brilliant to try. Sometimes I spend so much time thinking about others or trying to get everything done, that I forget to just take 5 minutes to sit and look after myself, and that's part of the reason I think Peachy Packages is such a good idea, it's completely just for you, everything inside is to help you and reminds you to just take a break every so often.

So you probably want to know what was included, as lets face it there is nothing better than unwrapping or opening a box like this and not having a clue what's inside! I was sent one of the little June boxes and the first thing I spotted was a 2017/18 black and gold diary. I love a good diary or notebook, in fact I have far too many but this is such a lovely one to add to my collection and I already know what I want to use it for. I think it's such a beautiful design and the colours are perfect. Who doesn't love a notebook? I then saw another bit of stationery, 2 lovely pencils engraved with inspirational messages. I keep seeing things like this around but I never think to pick any up so I'm really glad these were included. I love the little messages on them and I know these will be great to go on my desk somewhere when our office is complete.
Now onto the food and drink that was included. Instantly I could smell the chocolate and it's from the Wickedly Welsh Chocolate Company. I got the flavour Lemon and Poppyseed and I honestly can't put into words how good it smelled. Just so sweet and such a unique flavour. I love that it was a little bit different to the usual milk chocolate you might find in other subscription boxes. I also love that Peachy Packages include chocolate from a family run business. Another thing I could smell pretty quickly was the tea that was inside. Each month you get a different flavour of tea included and in the June box there was original chai from Pukka Herbs. In the little boxes you get 5 sachets which I think is a nice amount as it just gives you a taste of the tea and if you like you can always go and purchase, but you don't have a full box that you need to try and pass on if you're not 100% sure on it! I've never actually tried this flavour of tea before and I've still not got round to it but I can't wait to give it a go. I also love that the tea is from Pukka, I'm a big fan of theirs and all their products are fairtrade.
The last thing that was in the box was a set of four dictionary definition postcard sized prints. I actually wasn't sure what these were at first but I think they are so lovely and could be added to a photo wall (like the one I have in the bedroom) or could go in a little frame somewhere. I'm going to save these for now and put them up in the spare room when it's finally complete.
There were so many lovely bits included in the June little box and I'm so glad I got to try it out. I loved every single thing and all of them have been so useful. I absolutely love the element of surprise with subscription boxes like this and I think the fact this is aimed around self care and taking time out for yourself is even better, each thing in there is perfect. As I said I got sent the little box which is priced at £15, though each month you can also choose to get a bigger sized box which will include everything in the little one, but with loads more and that is priced at £35. It may seem like a lot of money but you do get some fab bits included and I think both are so worth the money. I think one of these boxes could make a really lovely gift for someone too. If you know someone who is going through a tough time or even if you know someone with a birthday coming up and aren't sure what to get, I think one of these would be ideal and such a unique gift!

If you want to try out Peachy Packages for yourself you can choose to pay either each month, every 3 months or every 6 months, and you can find out lots more on their website here and also see what was included in previous boxes if you want to more of an idea of what else can be featured. I'm sure I'll be going back to Peachy Packages in the future when I'm in need of some serious self care and just want to treat myself to a little gift!

Have you ever tried a subscription box like this? What do you think to everything that was included?

*I was sent the june box for the purpose of this review. As always all opinions are my own and I only work with brands I feel are relevant to me and my blog

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Sunday, 27 August 2017

Incredible Chocolate Mousse & Chocolate Shards Recipe...

Chocolate Mousse is one of those desserts I've always wanted to attempt but just never really known how and also I just didn't think it was something that would go well if I made it. Well, how wrong was i?! I gave it a go recently and I'm so glad I did! It was absolutely delicious. I did a review of a personalised cookbook a while ago and this recipe was featured, as it turned out so well I wanted to do a full recipe post on it. All credit goes to This Is Your Cookbook for the recipe, though I did make a few tiny little changes to suit what I had in. Instead of using just dark chocolate for the shards, I used a bit of milk chocolate aswell, and also with the mousse I used a mixture of dark and milk chocolate too, so I altered it a little to suit me but it's basically the same recipe!
Ingredients: (chocolate shards)
100g dark chocolate
75g of milk chocolate
50g of white chocolate

Ingredients: (mousse)
100g dark chocolate
50g milk chocolate
3 eggs, seperated
125ml double cream

Method: (chocolate shards)
1. Line a baking tray with baking paper and set aside
2. Break up the dark and milk chocolate into small pieces and place into a glass bowl. Place bowl over a pan of simmering water and wait for the chocolate to melt, keep stirring until fully melted
3. When the chocolate has melted, pour onto baking paper and spread out with a spoon into a large rectangle. Now break up the white chocolate into chunks and add to a clean bowl, again melt over a pan of simmering water. When that's melted, drizzle all over the chocolate with a spoon and then pull the tip of a cocktail stick downwards to get the ripple effect. I then placed the tray in the freezer for about 3 hours until it was fully set

Method: (chocolate mousse)
1. Now the shards are done, repeat the melting process with another 100g of dark choc and 50g of milk, when melted leave to cool for a few minutes
2. While this is cooling, seperate your eggs, I kept the yolks in one bowl and whites in another
3. After a few minutes, add in the egg yolks to the chocolate mix one at a time, stirring after each one, this will probably make quite a sticky mixture but it's fine
4. Now in a seperate bowl, measure out 125ml of double cream and whisk until it just holds it shape, when you've reached that stage, add to the chocolate mix and fold in until fully combined
5. Now in a completely clean bowl, whisk your eggs whites until they reach soft peaks. This won't work unless the bowl and whisk is clean, I tried to do this in the same bowl as the cream after I'd put that into the chocolate and they just wouldn't whisk properly, second time they reached soft peaks within less than a minute!
6. When the egg whites are whisked, pour into the chocolate mix and fold in. This might take a bit of time, you don't want to rush it
7. When everything is combined, pour into a fancy dish, or just any really! and leave to set in the fridge for at least 2 hours. I think this one was in the fridge for about 3 and it was perfect!
8. When set, remove chocolate from freezer, break into big pieces and add to the mousse. I tried to make it look neat and fancy, and I don't think I did too bad! 
First of all I know the shards might not look the most professional thing but for a first attempt I'm so proud of how they turned out! I loved the feathered pattern I managed to achieve, they set perfectly and were really easy to just snap. The mousse set so well and about 3 hours in the fridge was perfect, though just 2 should be okay. I've been a bit obsessed with the new Muller mousses recently and this honestly tasted just as good as those! It was really thick, had a nice dark chocolate taste and was so filling. Obviously I made it for just two of us so we ended up eating it over a few days, it's definitely too much for one sitting but if you had people round, this would be such a perfect dessert. I'm already thinking about when I can make it again.
I'm actually in disbelief it worked, I always thought it would just go so wrong if I attempted mousse but it went so much better than I could have imagined. LOVE IT!

I really recommend giving this a go if you're looking for some new homemade desserts to try or have a family occassion coming up any time soon. It would be perfect for Christmas day!

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Saturday, 26 August 2017

Malee Eau De Parfum Review*

I love a good perfume and I'm always on the lookout for new, affordable ones to try so when given the opportunity a few weeks ago to recieve one from Malee, I jumped at the chance! I just love getting a new perfume, they always feel so special and are just such a nice thing to have on a bedside table or in a handbag so this really was so exciting to have and review.
Malee sell a range of products all inspired by the landscapes, scents and ancient wisdom of Africa. Their luxurious fragrances and body care range have scientifically proven formulas which can heal, protect and pamper your skin, aswell as leaving you feeling fresh and confident, ready for the day, how good does that sound? Malee products are engineered from natural active ingredients which have been picked because of their vitamin rich and antioxidant properties, and are designed for both men and women. They are really just for anyone who wants to be pampered, and who doesn't? The product I was sent to review was the Eau De Parfum which is priced at £28. As I mentioned at the start of this post, I love perfume and if I had the money I'd been buying all sorts of different ones all the time! I love trying different ones and finding what I like, so I was super excited to try out this one, as I literally had no idea what it would be like.
 First of all it arrived in really nice, sleek packaging and it was protected well during delivery which is always important. It's a 12ml sized perfume which is pretty good and will definitely last a while, I find sometimes with bigger bottles it can take ages to get through, and then smaller ones go too quickly, so this is brilliant! Because of it's handy size, it's brilliant to either keep at home on your bedside table or to pop in your handbag for use on the go. I love having a little perfume in my bag so I can stay fresh when I'm out and that's exactly where I'm planning on keeping this one. 

Now onto the actual scent which is the most important part. On the Malee website it is described as 'delightfully uplifting and refreshing' and it really is just that. As soon as I used this I was shocked by all the different scents I was picking up from it and it really was fresh and strong which is what I like from a perfume. I like it to have good staying power and for me to be able to smell it throughout the day and with this I could. The scent has energising bursts of citrus, along with refreshing mint, and warm, earthy patchouli. I love anything patchouli scented so this was really nice to pick up on and also it was nice to finally have a perfume with a bit of a minty hit. I love the smell of mint but I'm not sure it's one I've ever had included in a perfume before so this was lovely and also I could really smell hints of lemon and citrus too, so combined all of them together were perfect and such a unique scent! It definitely did smell a little bit earthy at first but so many other scents followed that it didn't put me off in any way.
Aswell as this perfume smelling amazing, and being in a really lovely bottle and packaging, I'm really impressed to know that all ingredients found in Malee products are 100% cruelty free and are also free from mineral oils and parabens. I know a lot of bloggers I follow are really into finding products which are cruelty free so to any of those reading, I really recommend having a look on the Malee website. They sell such a range of products, from things like this perfume to body scrubs to moisturisers and even candles, so really there is something for everyone!

I've absolutely loved trying out this perfume and can't wait to carry on using it and for it become one of my handbag staples! I love everything about it and have no doubt I'll be buying a few more things from Malee in the future.

Have you ever tried any products from Malee? What's your go to perfume?

*Perfume was sent for the purpose of this review. As always I only work with brands I feel are relevant to me and my blog

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Friday, 25 August 2017

5 Places In The UK I'd Love To Visit...

I absolutely love travelling and going on short weekend breaks every so often. I live for those breaks each year and me and George have been quite lucky to have visited London several times and also Manchester, both places I now adore. Even though I could go back to those places all the time, there are also so many other places in the UK I'd love to visit so I wanted to do a post all about them. I'm hoping we'll get at least one ticked off the list next year! I'd love to know if you've been to any of the places I'm about to mention and what you recommend doing there.
Edinburgh - Edinburgh has been on my travel bucket list for a while, and after watching a few vlogs last year of some youtubers who went, I now want to go so bad! It just looks beautiful. I know it's really popular at Christmas time and I've seen pictures and videos of an amazing Christmas Market there which I'd love to visit. I think it would be an amazing place to visit in Winter though I'm sure it's just as good any time of the year. Just a few of the attractions there that I'd love to visit are, Edinburgh castle, Camera Obscura and Edinburgh Zoo. 

York - Whenever I see a picture of York, I always wish I could just book a trip there straight away. I'm sure I've been a few times in the past, when I was much younger and I'm pretty sure when I was in school too but I'd love to go back with George for a few days and do some proper sightseeing. I'd love to see York Minster and York castle, aswell as making a visit to the York Dungeon and the JORVIK Viking Centre. The Shambles also looks lovely and there are some really cute little shops I'd love to go to. I've actually found an amazing hotel already that I'm desperate to stay in so I definitely want it to be one of our first trips next year.

Cornwall - For so long I've loved the thought of going down to Cornwall and staying in a caravan for a week, is it just me that loves caravans?! I probably didn't appreciate them that much when I was younger but now I'd actually really love to go in stay in one, and I know it would be such a nice little holiday for me and George. As much as I want to go on summer holidays abroad, places like Cornwall are also so beautiful and can be just as good so this is somewhere I really want to go one summer. So much delicious food I need to try too!

Bath - I think Bath just looks absolutely beautiful and I think a few days there would be a perfect little break. The Roman Baths are the main thing I want to see, I'm so intrigued by them and remember reading about them when I was in school so I'd love to actually go and see them. The Bath Abbey also looks lovely and I'd love to go and visit it. I never used to be into things like that but now there are so many cathedrals, abbeys and castles I want to see. There is also the Jane Austen museum and they do a fab afternoon tea which I would need to have! I've also seen pictures of their Christmas Market too online so I'd love to go for that one year, I'm on a mission to go to loads of different Christmas Markets so if you have any others you recommend let me know!

Brighton - This looks like one of the best places to go in summer. It's quite far from me and it's pretty expensive on the train so I'm not sure when I'll get a chance to go but one year I'd definitely love to have a little holiday there. I've seen so much of it from certain youtubers vlogs and Instagrams and I think it really does look lovely. I'd love to explore on the pier, sit on the beach with an ice cream and do some shopping in the lanes. There is also a Choccywoccydoodah cafe there that I need to visit! ALL THE CHOCOLATE!

I could list so many other places I'd like to visit but for now these 5 are enough! After finding a beautiful hotel in York, I think that's the one I want to go to first out of all of these. Hopefully we can get it booked early next year, it just looks wonderful and I'm in serious need of a break.

Have you visited any of these places? If so, is there anything you recommend doing there? What's on your UK travel bucketlist?

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Thursday, 24 August 2017

Current Lush Stash - August 2017...

I'm such a huge fan of Lush and usually have a huge stash in my bathroom of all sorts of bath bombs! I tend to stock up every few months if I can and at the moment I still have quite a few products left to use so I thought it might nice to do a little post on them all and what I've currently got waiting. Most of these I picked up while I was in London in May so I'm actually a little bit shocked I haven't used them all yet.
Sex Bomb Bath Bomb - This is one of my all time favourite bath bombs and I'm so surprised I've not got round to using this yet! First of all it's just so pretty to look at but when it hits the water it makes such a beautiful colour and it really is so fun to watch it do its thing and all fizzle out. This bath bomb is supposed to be really good to use when you're feeling particuarly tired, stressed or anxious, basically sums up how I feel every day, so really it's a perfect one for me. It contains jasmine, ylang ylang and clary sage which combined are all supposed to leave you feeling relaxed and with a clear mind. Definitely need to use this soon.

Melting Marshmallow Moment Bath Oil - I'm usually all about the bath bombs but recently I've become really intrigued by the bath oils and I now have a number of them to use. They are a little bit cheaper than the bath bombs which is a bonus but I find they are just as fun to use! One I love is the Melting Marshmallow Moment bath oil, and George actually picked this up for me again a few months ago now so I really need to use it. You can't tell very well from the photo above but one side is pink and one is yellow so when you put it into the water it looks so pretty floating around. It's also got such an amazing scent of candyfloss so it's super sweet and all round just an amazing little product!

Lime Pastille Bath Oil - Now onto the stuff I have never tried before and the first thing is the Lime Pastille Bath Oil. I just love the look of this one, it's so bright and I imagine it's going to make the water look amazing when I get round to using it. It also smells incredible. It contains lime oil so it just smells so refreshing! As it also contains organic shea butter I imagine it's going to make my skin feel so soft after using it. Most bath bombs that contain this make my skin feel amazing so I hope this does too.

Double Vitality Bath Oil - I wasn't really sure what to think when I first saw this as it's so unlike all the other bath oils I've ever seen in Lush, but I was really intrigued so had to pick one up. It's a little pink star sandwich so looks really pretty and the scents include refreshing peppermint and uplifting lemon. I think these two together are amazing, and I love anything even a little bit mint scented! This also contains organic shea butter so I think this is another one which will leave you with really soft skin. If I like this I can definitely see it being one I repurchase again and again.

Cheer Up Buttercup Bath Bomb - The picture above doesn't really do this bath bomb justice, it's actually quite a bright yellow and looks so lovely in real life. I think this is going to make an amazing bath! Even though I tend to love hot bubble baths in winter, this bath bomb is so summery and just has to be used soon. It contains uplifting neroli oil which is scientifically proven to increase serotonin production in the brain to help us feel a bit more content and cheerful, something I definitely need. I think this will be a fab one to use when I'm having a bit of a down day!

I just absolutely love Lush and can't wait to use up all of these, it also gives me an excuse to go and buy more then. They do so many amazing products now and there is always something new I want, though I definitely have my old favourites which I'm sure I'll always go back to and buy again. I'd love to know if you've tried any of these Lush products, if so what did you think? Or have you got a favourite product from Lush you think I need to try?

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Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Choc On Choc - The Perfect Summer Treat...

I'm such a chocolate fiend. I could eat it all day everyday, milk, dark, white, flavoured, just all of it! So when the opportunity came up to try some samples from Choc On Choc, it was kind of a perfect fit for me and my blog! 
Choc On Choc is a chocolate shop based in the Somerset countryside and they have been creating all sorts of beautiful handmade chocolates since 2003. Starting off as a small father and daughter team, it's now grown into an award winning independant business that keeps going from strength to strength each year! You can find a whole range of cute and quirky designs and creations at Choc On Choc, including things like chocolate cheese boards, wedding favours, chocolate watermelon slices and chocolate filled espresso cups just to name a few things, but the thing I was sent was the Chocolate Cocktail Lollies.

First of all, I wanted to talk about the packaging these came in, because they really would make such a lovely gift. The lollies were enclosed in a sleek white box, were all individually wrapped and they were on a black velvet background so straight away looked so sleek and fancy! I could tell care had gone into how these were packaged so no damage was done during delivery. This white box was surrounded by bubble wrap in an even bigger box so if you do want to send something like this as a gift or buy some for yourself, you don't need to worry about them being broken on the way to you, these were in perfect condition.
So now onto the actual chocolates and what they tasted like! These are made from white Belgian chocolate and they are coloured by natural dyes to create the cocktail look, so even though they look fruity, they taste of pure white chocolate, and they are honestly delicious! White chocolate wouldn't normally be my first choice but I do always enjoy it and these were just such a tasty treat to have. They were so creamy and every bit of chocolate just melted in the mouth, so good! I couldn't rave about the taste anymore, they were really sweet and just the perfect evening treat. I shared each one of these with George as they were quite filling and he's an absolute white chocolate fiend so he was extremely happy he also got to try these. He didn't have a bad word to say about them either so they must be good!
With these I had no worries about how they had been coloured as only natural carmine dye is used and that really didn't alter the taste at all. Just pure white chocolate goodness.

Everything about these chocolate lollies was perfect and I know I would order these in future either just for me and George or as a gift for someone. As I've said they taste delicious, look so pretty and were packaged perfectly. They are priced at £18 which is a little bit costly but you can really tell time and effort has gone into these, and I'm sure so many people would be impressed with these if they received them as a gift. Another reason they would make a great present is because they have a shelf life of 3-6 months so if you pick these up for someone you don't need to worry about them going off before you can pass them on, or if you want to send them to someone, they'll still be absolutely fine weeks on.

I'm just really so impressed with Choc On Choc and can't wait to order more from them in the future. They sell so many amazing chocolate gifts and I'm certain anyone would be happy to receive a unique chocolate package either for a birthday, anniversary or christmas. If you want to have a look at their whole range of chocolates then feel free to check out their website here and you can also find out more about the business on their site. They really do have some lovely things and I just couldn't recommend them enough.
Do you like the look of these chocolate lollies? Have you ever tried anything from Choc On Choc?

*Chocolate was sent for the purpose of this review, as always I only work with brands relevant to me and my blog

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Tuesday, 22 August 2017

TV Shows You Need To Watch #2

I did one of these posts not too long ago and at the time I didn't plan on doing another but there are just so many good shows on at the moment and also a few I've rewatched so I really wanted to talk about them. If you haven't read the first post you can check that out here if you want to know what I included then.

Bates Motel - This had to be the first one I started with because it is just insane! I mentioned it in a favourites a few months ago and knew then if I did another of these posts this had to be included. It's basically about a mother and son who are weirdly infatuated with each other and have such a strange relationship. It's inspired by the film Psycho and it's sort of a prequel to it with a bit of a different ending. It explores the relationship between Norman and Norma bates and shows how he ends up becoming this twisted serial killer. It's just an amazing show and I'm so sad after 5 seasons it has now come to and end. I love every episode and some genuinely left me thinking what the hell did I just watch afterwards, but in a good way. Just couldn't recommend this enough. Freddie Highmore who plays Norman is incredible.
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Line Of Duty - Another show mentioned in a favourites post but again one that had to be in this post. This is one I'd put off for quite a long time, and I don't know why as I'd only ever heard good things about it! We started it a few months ago and got through all four series in about 2 weeks, it was that good, we couldn't stop watching. It's a bit different to the usual programs I watch but so interesting and keeps you hooked throughout. It's basically about 3 police officers in the anti-corruption unit, whose job it is to find the corrupt officers within the police force. So much goes on in each episode and each series and it's one of those shows where you're always on the edge of your seat. You're never sure how it's going to end and who's the bad guy which I love. It's just brilliant, and it stars Vicky McClure who was recently in The Replacement on BBC and she's an excellent actor.
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Doctor Foster - I first watched this when it was on TV in 2015 and loved it, I remember after the last episode feeling like I just couldn't breathe and that I'd held my breath all the way through it, it's amazing! As it's on Netflix I'm going to rewatch it again soon and I'm sure it will be just as tense the second time around. It's only a 5 part series so doesn't take too long to binge watch, but it's about Gemma, played by Suranne Jones, who suspects her husband is having an affair and what she has to do to find out the truth and what secrets she uncovers. A second series is coming later on this year so I can't wait for that. It's a show you really need to watch.
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Ja'mie: Private School Girl - A lot of the shows I've mentioned so far are quite serious and all dramas I suppose but this is the complete opposite, and almost a little bit offensive. I genuinely find it hilarious though, I'm not sure what that says about me 🙈 This was on BBC3 a few years ago now and at the time I found it so so funny so I bought it on DVD and it's one I go back to every so often when I'm not sure what to watch and need a laugh. Chris Lilley plays Ja'mie who is 17 and lives in Sydney. She's a very funny but she's also a narcissistic and conniving year 12 at a private school who thinks she is queen bee and basically gets whatever she wants, when she wants. I know I've not explained it well but I don't think it's one of those shows that I could really ever explain properly, it's just one you need to watch for yourself. I find it so funny and genuinely laugh out loud at every episode.
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The Handmaids Tale - This is one I watched very recently and one I seriously needed to talk about on here. When I first saw it advertised on TV I wasn't too bothered and wasn't sure what it was about but after doing a bit of googling and then seeing a load of tweets after the first episode, I decided to catch up and I was soon hooked by it. The show is based on a book by Margaret Atwood and is set in the near future where woman are not allowed to work, own property, control their own money and must be basically used to bear children. After widespread infertility, all the woman left fertile and with children are forced away from their families and have to become handmaids. This means they are assigned to homes of the ruling elite and are forced to ritualised rape with their male masters in order to become pregnant for them and their wives. It sounds so out there and it really is but as the author of the book has said herself, she has only included things that do go on in the world somewhere, which is a pretty scary thought. It's such a good show and even though it is a tough watch sometimes, it's one I really think everyone should watch. I sometimes feel like I can't bear to watch or I can't breathe throughout but I think it's a really important show.
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I'm just a bit obsessed with all of these and I'm so glad I gave them all a watch! There is definitely a real mix so I'm sure there is something for everyone. I really hope if there are some you've not seen yet that you give them a go, I love them all.

Have you seen any of these? If so what is your favourite?

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Monday, 21 August 2017

The Eye Mask You Need In Your Life - Spacemasks Review*

If you've read my blog for a while, it's probably no secret that I struggle with my sleep and have battled with insomnia for a good few years now. I've tried so many different things to try and get me back into a normal sleeping pattern and some things have worked, and others haven't. I just seem to go through phases with my sleep, I can have a good few months of falling asleep around 11pm and actually getting up at a reasonable time, and then I'll have months where I don't sleep until gone 4am, if not later. Unfortunately the last month or so it's been a bad phase so when a Spacemask arrived recently, it couldn't have come at a more perfect time!
If you've not heard of Spacemasks before, than where have you been?! I've seen them loads on my social media recently, and everyone seems to be loving them, I can totally see why. If you haven't heard of them though, I'll start with a little bit of information about them. Spacemasks are basically a new creation of a sleepmask that allow you to take a small break from your hectic lifestyle, and also help you get a great nights sleep. Spacemasks are eye masks which are used to aid relaxation and they are perfect to just pop on when you need a break, or if you're someone like me who struggles with falling asleep at night, one of these is ideal.

The way a spacemask works is that as soon as you open the pack, the mask starts to heat up, so don't open this then put it down! Just place over your eyes and hook the loops over your ears so it stays in place. Straight away you feel the heat from the mask. As it heats up the oxygen molecules in the atmosphere cuddle up to the masks iron particles in a natural heat exchange. Within minutes this mask can relieve tiredness, eye strain and so many other things. At least 15 minutes is recommended use for this for some proper relaxation.
So what did I think? I loved it! After a pretty stressful month and not sleeping well at all, a good nights sleep was so needed and this really did do the trick. I placed it over my eyes just before going to sleep one night last week and it was just so relaxing to use. The warm heat over my eyes combined with the subtle scent of jasmine was just lovely and it really didn't take me long to drift off to sleep at all. It wasn't uncomfortable in any way and the loops were really stretchy so I couldn't really even feel them over my ears. The next morning I woke up feeling refreshed and ready for the day and even though the next night the heat wasn't there anymore, it was still really nice to wear again and it definitely contributed to another good nights sleep.

I haven't had anything like this for so long but now I've tried this, I definitely want to get more! I find I sleep so much better if I have something over my eyes and the heat of this was just really comforting and made me feel all cosy! I think this would be even better to use in winter just for that extra warmth and comfort on a cold night!

If like me you really need some help sleeping at night, or just want to take more time out to relax, then check out the Spacemasks website here and give one of these a go. I really recommend trying them out. They are available online in boxes of 5 for £15 and they are availble worldwide! Spacemasks really are for everyone. I'm sure most people feel they need a bit more relaxation in their life, and taking time for yourself is so important so I couldn't recommend these enough.

I'd love to know if you've ever tried anything like this before, or if you've given a spacemask a go what did you think?

*I was sent a spacemask for the purpose of this review. As always I only work with brands relevant to me and my blog

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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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