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Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Food I Have Been Loving This Week #29

All I've thought about over the last few weeks is food, I have no idea what's wrong with me but so many amazing meals have been whirling around my head, I'm hoping my love for cooking is starting to come back as for a long time it disappeared and I couldn't think of anything much worse than trying to get creative with different meals. Because I've not had loads of inspiration recently these posts have definitely become a bit more few and far between but I do still love writing them so they won't be going away completely.
Food I Have Been Loving This Week including Millies Cookies, M&S Bakery, Chilli cheese nachos, pulled beef and Red Pop
Spanish potatoes - Anything with potatoes is a winner for me so when I saw a recipe for a Spanish twist on classic new potatoes, I had to give it a try. In Summer I like to try and make our meals a bit more exciting and this was a side I thought would be so nice with tapas bits one night. It's such a simple recipe, just cook the new potatoes as normal, then in a frying pan soften red onion and pepper, add in some chorizo and seasoning (I used chilli powder, garlic, chipotle chilli flakes) a few cherry tomatoes, and then add in the potatoes and give everything a good stir with a glug of olive oil. They were delicious and I think they'll be something we have quite a lot during summer.

Millies cookies - For some reason recently I've been thinking so much about Millies Cookies! A lot of the time if I'm in the mood for something baked, I usually like brownies or a muffin but I recently had a Millies Cookies and I've just wanted loads since. They are the best cookies you'll find, so soft and creamy and the chocolate is just heaven.

M&S Cinnamon Swirls - Sticking with baked things, something else I've loved is M&S cinnamon swirls. I'm not sure if they're new or not, but we seem to have only just got them in the bakery section and they are just amazing, they're almost a mixture of a flaky cinnamon swirl and a doughnut which might sound strange but the pastry is definitely different to others you might find. They're almost a bit of a substitution for the beloved cinnamon swirl doughnuts we've tried in Whole Foods during our trips to London which are genuinely one of the best things I've ever eaten.

Homemade chilli cheese nachos - I posted a recipe for this a while ago and whilst we don't make it often, whenever we do it's always insane. Recently I've been making my slow cooker chilli quite a bit, it's just so simple so when I planned it yet again a few weeks ago I thought for a change I'd stick it on top of some nachos and make a bit of a feast. I think it was probably the best it's ever been when we've made it so I'm already planning it again!

Red pop - OMG finally! I have found my favourite ever ever ever drink. I first tried this years ago when there was an american shop in our city centre, it then closed and it was only available online, it then disappeared from there too so I didn't think I'd have it again unless we ever went to America one day (dramatic I know but it's amazing!) until last month! I found it again and I had to order myself some. It's strawberry flavoured pop and it might not sound special but it's just the best drink ever. I already wish I had more, nothing else will ever beat it for me.

Slow cooker pulled beef - Another slow cooker meal because it means I can just leave it in the kitchen all day and I don't have to be stood cooking in this heat. I'd only made this once before so it was kind of just guessing work this time but it turned out so well. The flavour from the beef cooking all day was beautiful, and it just broke apart by the end, it's such an easy meal. Leftovers for days too!

Chicken and potato hash - This definitely isn't the prettiest looking meal but it tasted good and that's all that matters. I've been a bit low on inspiration when it comes to cooking recently but after a a flick through Instagram I found a few new Slimming World meals and this was one of them, basically a spicy mix of potatoes, chicken and peppers. It's incredibly simple, just peel 2 baking potatoes, chop into cubes, par boil for 10 mins then put into a dish with chilli powder, garlic, salt and pepper. Pop in the oven for around 45 minutes. Whilst these are in the oven you also want to cook 2 chicken breasts, these took around the same amount of time as the potatoes and when cooked I just shredded them. Once both of these are cooked, set aside and in a frying pan soften a few handfuls of frozen peppers, add in a good glug of relish, a squeeze of tomato puree and seasoning, I used chilli powder, chipotle chilli flakes and garlic salt. When the peppers are soft, add in the potatoes and shredded chicken, give it all a good mix and tip into a dish, top with cheese and bake in the oven for 5 mins. It might sound like there's a lot too it but there really isn't, and it was just so delicious. Incredibly filling and so comforting.

Did you see my last recipe post? The perfect roast dinner with Essential Cuisine

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Advantages of Installing Artificial Grass

Artificial grass is definitely trending. In the past, artificial grass was generally restricted to recreation centers and sports areas but in the last couple of years, it has been revolutionary for home and property owners.
Advantages of Installing Artificial Grass
https://pixabay.com/en/armchair-garden-grass-home-2591679/
Older people, busy families or simply those looking to save money in lawn maintenance have turned to artificial grass for it's practicality and low maintenance. Placing artificial grass around the areas of the pool means no muddy areas where dirt and dust can be carried into the pool by dirty feet. Consider it an outdoor carpet that needs little maintenance so you can spend more time with your family instead of taking care of the lawn.

In recent years, the UK have seen an increase in limitations on water usage in the form of hose pip bans. This is bad news for natural grass owners since natural grass needs to be watered regularly even more so during dry seasons. This isn't your problem though when you have an artificial lawn. In other words, installing artificial grass can survive any harsh seasons while substantially decreasing your water usage per household. It also stays green and beautiful to look at whatever the weather situation.
Advantages of Installing Artificial Grass
https://pixabay.com/en/lake-geneva-lakeshore-path-3524431/
Artificial grass is a remarkable surface fit for dog runs and playgrounds for small children as it has a very soft texture that doesn't harsh the delicate skin of your kids or your pets. It is also extraordinary for high foot traffic areas since it never wears out and only requires occasional cleaning. You will no longer need chemically formulated fertilizers and you'll reduce your carbon footprint by not using one of those lawn trimmers and mowers. With the latest generations of artificial grass, it can trick anyone into thinking it's a real one.

In conclusion, artificial grass lawns are becoming popular for many reasons. Whether you are living in an area where water is scarce or pricey, you can definitely slow down your water bills once you have installed artificial grass. You will keep yourself and your family away from harmful chemicals used in maintaining a natural lawn. Most of all, you will have extra time to bond with your loved ones in your beautiful (artificial) lawn without worries.

*This post is in collaboration with Flooring Superstore

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Tuesday, 14 August 2018

The Mid Year Book Tag

I was having a blog reading session last week and I noticed a post from Steph called The Mid Year Book Tag. As I've been SO into reading since the start of this year after really falling out of love with it for a long time, I knew this was a post I had to do. I've not read a huge amount of books this year but the ones I have read have all left with me with so much to say so I can't wait to get answering these questions!
The Mid Year Book Tag including Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, Some Kind of Wonderful and The Sisters
1. Best book you've read so far in 2018?
It has to be Five Years From Now by Paige Toon. I feel like I haven't shut up about this on my social media since I finished it but it's just stuck with me and I want to re-read it already as it made me feel so much.

2. Best sequel you've read so far in 2018?
It's not really a sequel, but more of a follow on I suppose? Darker by EL James. I've personally always loved the Fifty Shades of Grey books as they're such an easy read, and can be picked up and left whenever really. I love that she's re-released them from Christian's point of view, I think I enjoy that side more actually. I'm looking forward to reading the final one from his perspective.

3. New release you haven't read yet, but want to?
I'm desperate to get my hands on The Man Who Didn't Call by Rosie Walsh. I was having a browse on Amazon recently, saw this and now I can't wait to buy it. It's currently quite expensive in paperback so I'm going to wait a bit longer I think. The story sounds brilliant though and it's got great reviews.

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year?
There are a few I've noticed that are out in the next few months, I Invited Her In by Adele Parks and The Plus One by Sophia Money-Coutts.

5. Biggest disappointment?
I'm not sure disappointment is the right word but the book I've been left underwhelmed with is Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens. I posted my review last week which will explain a bit more but basically I just felt like there was something missing. The twist became quite obvious and it seemed to end very quickly afterwards. It didn't grab my attention quite as much as others have recently.

6. Biggest surprise?
The Sisters by Claire Douglas. I picked this up on a whim as it was only £2 on Amazon and I am SO glad I did. I never really go for thriller books but this completely surprised me, I absolutely loved it and honestly couldn't stop reading.
The Sisters by Claire Douglas book
7. Favourite new author?
 I don't think I've read any books this year from 'new' authors, but out of all the ones new to me, I'd have to say Claire Douglas who I just mentioned above. I never expected to love the book I read as much as I did so I'm excited to read more from her in future.

8. New fictional crush?
It has to be Van from Five Years From Now. Your typical, tall, dark and handsome male character in a love story. I loved the way Paige Toon wrote his character, he was just so smooth and charming throughout the whole book.

9. Favourite new character?
I loved Eleanor Oliphant from Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine. The hype around this book is so deserved! I was rooting for her from the beginning and I found her really endearing.
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman book
10. A book that made you cry?
A few so far this year have made me a little emotional but again I have to come back to Five Years From Now. There are a few parts that really got me but there is one where her father is ill and he thinks he can see their family dog who passed away years ago and it was utterly heartbreaking. The author Paige Toon posted a video of herself online that her husband had taken of her, which showed her sobbing as she wrote that particular part and I totally get why, it's incredibly sad. Also the ending made me emotional too as it was very bittersweet.

11. A book that made you happy?
So far I'm reading Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella which I'm really enjoying and it's definitely more upbeat than some of the others I've read recently! Some Kind of Wonderful by Giovanna Fletcher was also a lovely read and I finished that smiling.

12. Favourite review that you've written?
Probably The Sisters. It was such a hard one to write as I had so much I wanted to say, the ending left me with so many questions but I'm really glad I posted it. I also really like my review of Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine as it was my first book review in absolutely ages and the one that made me want to start posting them more often.

13. Most beautiful book you've bought?
I think the cover of Some Kind of Wonderful is absolutely beautiful!
Some Kind of Wonderful by Giovanna Fletcher book
14. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?
I think next on my list is How To Stop Time by Matt Haig. I've been meaning to read that for a while. After that I think it will be time to treat myself to a few that have been on my list for months!

Have you read many books this year? Have you got any favourites you recommend?

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Friday, 10 August 2018

Cadbury Chocolate Cake Recipe

It's been a little while since I last posted a baking recipe, in fact the most recent was my simple sponge cake with caramel icing, so today I wanted to share a Cadbury chocolate cake which I made last week! You can't really ever beat a classic chocolate cake can you? I didn't have all of the exact ingredients which I usually use for my Easter chocolate cake so I just went with what was in the cupboards to try and make something similar and it turned out so well. Soft, moist sponge with beautiful melted Cadbury sandwiched in the middle and on top!
Simple Chocolate Cake Recipe With Cadbury
Ingredients:
225g butter
225g caster sugar
4 eggs
200g self raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
30g cocoa powder
2 tbsp milk
200g Cadbury chocolate or whatever you prefer 

Method:
1. Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees and grease and line 2 cake tins
2. In a bowl cream together the butter and sugar until smooth and fluffy
3. Add in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each one
4. Sift in the self raising flour and baking powder, mix in and then sift in the cocoa powder
5. Usually after adding the cocoa powder, the mixture can get a bit difficult to mix so this is where you can add in 2 tbsp of milk to loosen it up
6. Pour the mixture into your two cake tins and bake in the oven for around 25 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean
7. Leave the cakes to cool on a wire rack for around 20 minutes then you can prepare the filling
8. To melt the chocolate, just add to a glass bowl and put on top of a pan of simmering water, stirring until smooth
9. Once the chocolate has melted, pour half of it onto one of the cakes, spread evenly and then put the second cake on top. Add the remaining melted chocolate to the top, you can also add any decoration you fancy too
Cadbury Chocolate Cake Recipe
Whilst this might not be the best looking cake ever (I certainly didn't go to town on decoration) it tasted delicious and that's the most important thing. The sponge really did come out so soft and there is nothing better than smooth melted chocolate. Let me know if you give this recipe a go, it's a great one to use for when you just need a slice of cake but can't be bothered to make anything fancy!

Want to know how to get the best sponge everytime? Give my baking tips and hacks post a read!


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Thursday, 9 August 2018

Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens Book Review

After such a combination of feelings recently from reading 5 Years From Now which was an absolute heartbreaker to the shock I felt from The Sisters in such a short space of time I knew that reading Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens next would have a lot to live up to. So far this year I've enjoyed every single book I've read and there has been such a mix, but after loving the thriller that The Sisters was, I decided to stick with that genre and give this a go. George read it before me and actually flew through it, but I was actually left with very mixed feelings.
Chevy Stevens, Never Let You Go
She thought she'd escaped him forever. But will he ever let her go? Eleven years ago, Lindsey Nash fled into the night with her young daughter, leaving an abusive relationship behind. Her ex-husband ended up in jail and Lindsey started a new life. Now, Lindsey is older, wiser and believes she has cut all ties with the past. But when Andrew is released from prison, strange things start happening. Lindsey's new boyfriend is threatened, her home invaded and her daughter followed. Her ex-husband denies all knowledge, but Lindsey is convinced he's responsible. Because, after all, who else could it be...?

My review

Out of all of the books I've read this year, so far this is the one that's kind of left me feeling a little flat. I loved the idea of this book, similar to The Sisters in that it's a thriller and focuses around weird happenings going on and not knowing whose behind them but after finishing it I found there was more I was disappointed with than the things I enjoyed. This is told by both Lindsey and her daughter Sophie, and we also have flashbacks so there is a lot of toing and froing throughout. I've mentioned before that I'm not usually a big fan of a two person narrative as I find it can get a little confusing and this book kind of backed that up. I found myself having to go back several times to re-read parts and figure out how far on we had jumped as it did sometimes go from 2005, to 2016 and then to 2007 and so on, so it was definitely a little all over the place at times!

Despite this I do think Chevy Stevens has done a great job of writing about a sensitive subject like domestic abuse. It was very uncomfortable at times and really showed the impact that it had on Lindsey, her daughter and both of their futures, showing that no matter how long it's been, it's not something you ever really get over. Though I didn't love the story been told by both Lindsey and Sophie, I do understand why it was written like that and at times it did give detail that we'd not had previously and showed how both were dealing with their past.

Whilst I also understand why there was so much build up in the first half of the book, taking us back in time to show what Andrew and Lindsey's relationship was like, I do think it dragged on for a little too long. I found I was starting to lose attention about half way through and whilst I was sure it was going to pick and go somewhere, it took a while for it to gain some momentum. As Andrew had been released from prison when weird things started happening to Lindsey - emails being opened, indentations on her bed, keys being moved etc, you do think initially, well it must be him? He wants revenge for going to prison? If you've not read this I don't want to spoil it for you but as you can imagine it's not at all as straightforward as that and I actually think I suspected almost every single person Lindsey interacted with at one point as I felt it was just too obvious for it to be Andrew after just having got his life back.

We meet several characters in the book, Lindsey's new boyfriend Greg, friend Marcus, her employees, Sophies boyfriend Jared and at times I felt like it could have been any of them for some reason wanting to hurt Lindsey. When the twist was revealed and we finally figure out who is to blame I have to say, I don't think it was a massive shock. I mainly flitted between two of the characters, one seemed too good to be true and the other just a little creepy, but then when it was revealed, it was wrapped up very quickly and I just don't think there had been enough build up or tension to that moment. I didn't feel any sort of WOW moment happened in the book and whilst towards the end I did get stuck in and want to finish it to see how everything ended, I didn't feel anything like I did when I finished The Sisters which also had a big twist and really had me gripped throughout, and blown away by the end. Whilst this is in no way a bad book, for me personally there was something missing. It's actually got great reviews online mostly so I'm sure I'm just part of a small minority with feeling like this, but maybe it's just because I've read some really outstanding books over the last few months, that this just had a lot to live up to. It's currently only £2 on Amazon though so I would say it's worth a read whilst it's such a bargain. You might love it, it just wasn't one of the best books I've read recently.

Have you read Never Let You Go? What did you think?


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Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Current Wishlist - Beauty, Books & Home

I do love a wishlist. It's not been too long since my last one but that was clothes so I think it's about time for another with a mix of all of the things I'm currently lusting over!
My Current Wishlist - Beauty, Books & Home

Beauty

The first thing I'm keen to get my hands on is the Asos Travel Essentials Box. At £12 this is an absolute bargain! There are lots of fab products included such as a mini Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara, Emma Hardie Brilliance Facial Oil, Glamglow ThirstyMud Mask and more. These are all massive brands and ones I'd never be able to afford so this is such a great way of being able to try some of the products out. Next the Too Faced Melted Matte Lipstick has recently caught my eye in the shade Child Star. It's £19 so I'm extremely unlikely to ever buy it but I love the colour of it and it's exactly the sort I go for. Now for nail polish as I clearly need more to add to my collection. Essie are one of my go to brands and I actually never knew Asos had such a huge range of their polishes. I love the shades Angora Cardi which is a beautiful dusty rose, and Merino Cool which is a chic mauve nude. The final few beauty bits I'm interested to try are the Beauty Extras Foot Mask and Hair Mask. I recently tried a foot mask I picked up from Sephora in Paris and I loved it so I'm glad I've finally found somewhere here that does them too.
Asos Beauty including Too Faced, Disney and Essie

Books

I have got so many books in my Amazon basket at the moment! I'm trying to avoid buying them as I have absolutely nowhere to store anymore but I don't think one or two would be too bad!

Pictures of Lily - After loving Five Years From Now by Paige Toon I've been looking at some of her other books and this the one currently at the top of my list. 'Ten years ago when Lily was just sixteen, she fell in love with someone she really should't have fallen in love with. Now, living in Sydney and engaged to another man, she can't forget the one that got away. Then her past comes back to haunt her, and she has to make a decision that will break her heart - and the heart of at least one of the men who love her.'

I've Got Your Number - Sophie Kinsella has been a favourite of mine for a long time so I'm desperate to pick some of her newer books up. 'A couple of glasses of bubbly with the girls and Poppy's life has gone into meltdown. Not only has she lost her engagement ring, but in the panic that followed, she's lost her phone too. When she spots an abandoned phone in a bin it seems it was meant to be... Finders Keepers! Except the phone's owner, elusive businessman Sam Roxton, doesn't agree. He wants his phone back, and doesn't appreciate Poppy reading all his messages and wading into his personal life. Can things get any more tangled?'

An Unwanted Guest - This is quite different to the other books I've already mentioned but after really enjoying a few thriller type books over the last month, I've started looking for others a bit similar and this one has such good reviews. 'We can't choose the strangers we meet. As the guests arrive at beautiful, remote Mitchell's Inn, they're all looking forward to a relaxing weekend deep in the forest, miles from anywhere. They watch their fellow guests with interest, from a polite distance. With a violent storm raging, the group finds itself completely cut off from the outside world. Nobody can get in - or out. And then the first body is found... and the horrifying truth comes to light. There's a killer among them - and nowhere to run.'
Pictures of Lily by Paige Toon, I've Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella and An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena

Home

We've just re-decorated the bathroom so I'm after a few bits to really complete it all. I can't believe how long it's taken us to get it sorted but it looks so much better now! A bit of a boring purchase but I really want to get some storage baskets and I love these silver wire ones. I love things like this for keeping my bath bombs and shower gels in. Also for the bathroom I love the look of these tumblers and soap dispensers. They have such a pretty copper design on them and I think they'd go so well. Now for the living room because I'm going through a real 'I hate everything' phase with it. I'm longing for Autumn now so I really want to get some mustard/yellow coloured bits in to just add something a little different. I'd love some new cushions like these velvet ones from Asda for the sofas. Also we have a little dish on the coffee table with pot pourri in and whilst I love it, we've had it for ages and it just doesn't look as good as it used to. I love this copper-toned hammered dish to replace it and it's only £5. I've been having a little browse recently on New Look as they're homeware just gets better and better, and one thing I'm always drawn to is their mugs. I really want to start replacing some of the ones we already have and have a bit of a mix rather than a set and I love this turquoise tile print one. I love the design of it and it also comes in a few other colours too. Something else that caught my eye is this black tile plate which might seem a bit random but I've been wanting something like this for ages for blog photos. I've taken a few recently where I've really needed something pretty like this so I'm definitely going to try and grab this whilst I can.Homeware from Asda and New Look including Cushions, Bathroom Accessories and Mugs
I'm aware this blog post is quite long but it's been a while since I last did a random wishlist like this so there was loads I wanted to include!

Have you picked up any of the things I mentioned?

*Affiliate links used in this post

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Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Men's Society Travel Kit Review*

It's no secret I've got a serious case of wanderlust at the moment and I'm constantly thinking about the next weekend away or holiday abroad. With a few things planned over the next few months I was thrilled to receive a Travel Kit from Men's Society recently to take along wherever I go. 
Men's Society Travel Kit, Ideal for holidays and weekend breaks
If you've not heard of Men's Society before, well it was born in 2012 by Hugo and Bella and it all started out at the kitchen table. Wanting to put Bella's unique gifting ideas into action, lots of hard work and time was spent on growing the business to what it is today. All of the hard work paid off as Men's Society now work with some of the top retailers in the world selling a range of gifts for everyone to enjoy. Whilst growing in popularity what I love though is that every single thing is still made by hand here in Britain. There is a huge range of products available on the website from gifts for him like beard grooming kits, whisky lover kits and tech gifts to presents for women including radiant skin kits, scented candles, nail polish and more. 

The product I was sent to try out was the Weekend Away Kit. This is perfect for any short weekend breaks, business trips or as flight hand luggage (it meets the regulations). It contains the few essentials you need when you're away and as it comes in it's own little compact tin, you can just pack this as it is in your case. I like things to be as simple as possible when I'm packing so this is incredibly useful. The kit contains a shampoo and body wash, cleansing face wash, travel toothbrush and toothpaste and a radiant face oil.

Shampoo and Body Wash 50ml & Cleansing Face Wash 50ml

Starting with the Shampoo and Body Wash, it's so useful to have a two in one to take with you. This really saves on taking several products in your luggage and having to decant them into travel bottles. This 50ml is perfect for a short break and it has a refreshing scent too of lime and basil to leave you feeling fresh all day. The Cleansing Face Wash is also great to take with you. It contains castor oil and olive oil which are both natural sources of Vitamin E so helps you look your best even after a busy day of travelling or exploring.
Men's Society Travel Kit Cleansing Facial Wash and Shampoo

Travel Toothbrush and Toothpaste

I absolutely love how travel friendly these are as you really don't have to worry about fitting them into your toiletry bag. I normally take my usual toothbrush away with me which is a bit of a pain but now I don't need too! The toothbrush comes in it's own little case which is so handy and the toothpaste is the perfect amount for any short breaks. 
Men's Society Travel Kit Toothbrush and Toothpaste

Radiant Face Oil 10ml

Over the last year or so I've really been loving using facial oils so I was really happy to see this included. Facial oils leave your skin feeling so soft and pampered so the addition of one in this kit is brilliant for those nights where you want to have a bit of a self care evening. This 10ml bottle contains Grapeseed, Jojoba, Aragan, Rosehip, Geranium, Carrot Seed and Vitamin E and it smells beautiful.
Men's Society Travel Kit Radiant Facial Oil
I think this Travel Kit from Men's Society is perfect for any upcoming trips you may have planned. To help take the stress of packing away and sorting out all of your toiletries, why not invest in one of these where several things are already sorted for you? It's currently priced at £25 which definitely isn't cheap and would be more than I'd usually pay for anything like this but the products are all extremely high quality and clearly nothing has been scrimped on. It would also make a lovely gift for anyone you know who might going travelling or just likes their holidays, it's so unique, feels very luxurious and really does make life a little easier when it comes to preparing for a trip.

If you want to pick one of these up for yourself can find out more on the Men's Society website and also see the range of other kits that are available.

Have you got any weekend breaks planned?

*Product sent for the purpose of this post

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Monday, 6 August 2018

5 Year Travel Bucket List

When having a bit of a blog reading session last month I noticed a post from Steph who wrote about her 5 year travel bucket list and I absolutely loved the idea so I thought I'd take note of my list too. Make sure you give her post a read as she mentioned some incredible places in her post! I've posted more travel content than ever on my blog this year and I've absolutely loved it. At the moment I'm constantly thinking about booking a holiday or just escaping for a few days somewhere in the UK, honestly anything will do, so because of that I'm finding myself wanting to write more and more about travel. There are so many places I'd love to visit one day and within the next 5 years there is a real mix of things I'd like to do from the UK all the way to America.
5 Year Travel Bucket List Including New York, Greece, Edinburgh, Isle Of Wight, Amsterdam

New York

How could it not be on this list? Out of all of the places in America, it has always been New York that has stood out to me. I mean BROADWAY! Given my pretty intense love for all things musical theatre at the moment, I'd love to see a few shows over there and see how they compare. They've also had loads of new shows starting too like Waitress and Dear Evan Hansen which we're not lucky enough to have in London just yet so I guess I just have to go and see them there don't I? 😉 Aswell as that though I'm so keen to properly explore the city and take in that once in a lifetime experience. From the Statue of Liberty to Times Square, the Empire State Building to the 911 Memorial, New York is overflowing with things to do and places to see.

Germany

Not too long ago I wrote about my dream road trip through Germany which might sound a bit random but I stick by that and it's really something I'd love to do at some point over the next few years. After being born there and briefly going back as a teenager to visit, I think it's a must for George and I, to show him the places I'll have been as a baby and where I lived. I've not given it loads of thought in the past but it's a pretty interesting thing about me I suppose and I feel like I need to go back at some point. There is also SO much more to do there than you might think in each city and also as we have a huge love for Christmas and regularly visit Christmas Markets when we can, how could it be better than one in Germany?

Isle of Wight

This is another place I visited when I was younger and I know for a fact that at the time I didn't take in as I should have but it's absolutely beautiful! I'm really keen one Summer to do a classic caravan holiday, especially because I'm hoping by our next holiday we'll have a dog (fingers crossed) and visit some of the incredible places we have in the UK. Who says you need to go abroad when we have so much more here than we often realise? I've spoken a bit more about the Isle of Wight in particular in this post if you want to have a read.

Greece

Yet another place I've visited in the past but it's somewhere George has never been before and it really is such a breathtaking place. The weather is incredible, if you want a decent tan, trust me it's the place to go and there are some really wonderful places to take a day trip out too. For a while we've thought about a relaxing break in somewhere in Greece and at the moment I'd do anything for a week there, there is nothing better than being in that pool when it's boiling hot with unlimited ice cream. Heaven.

Edinburgh

I briefly mentioned Christmas markets earlier and one I've loved the look of for a while now is one in Edinburgh. I'm sure it's incredible all year round but there is just something about going away at Christmas that makes me so happy and I think it's definitely a contender for a little Christmas break one year. I love being away when it's cold and then getting back to the hotel feeling all festive! I've read some great blog posts recently from Chloe and Abbey about their time in Edinburgh and they have only made me want to go even more!

Amsterdam

This was actually somewhere we considered for our honeymoon and I'm not lying when I say we were set on it up until the night before booking. In the end we went with Paris instead which was incredible in so many ways but I'd still love to visit Amsterdam too one day. It's been on my list for a while, it looks like such a picturesque city and it's full of history. I'd love to make a visit to Anne Frank's house if we ever go and also some of the famous museums.

Writing this has only increased my wanderlust, I just want to travel all the time! I have no idea where we'll go next but hopefully we'll get some of these places ticked off in the not too distant future. I'd love to know if you've visited any of them and what you thought? What would be on your 5 year travel bucket list?

'Life is short, the world is wide. I wanna make some memories.'


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Friday, 3 August 2018

4 Soap and Glory Products You Need To Try*

In my June Favourites I mentioned that I'd been chosen by Soap and Glory to be one of their Babes of Glory and with that comes a few perks. I've received a few bits of blogger mail from them now which I am SO incredibly grateful for as they are one of my favourite brands and most recently I was sent a lovely little package of some of their best selling beauty products. 

I tend to reach for skincare when buying from Soap and Glory so I was thrilled to finally have some of their makeup to try! First of all it all arrived in a stunning makeup bag. My makeup collection seems to have grown quite a lot recently and I've been on the lookout for a new bag to stash it all in so this arrived at the perfect time. I love the colours of it and it's such a handy size. Now onto the goodies inside! 
4 Soap and Glory Products including Sexy Mother Pucker Lipstick and Lip Plumping Gloss, Eyebrow Kit and Eyeliner

Sexy Mother Pucker Extreme Plumping Gloss £10

I was ecstatic to see their Sexy Mother Pucker Extreme Plumping Gloss which I'd seen such good reviews of in the past. For a while I've wondered what it would be like to have my lips a little fuller, though really there's nothing wrong with them so products like this are great for that temporary fix. I love how easy this is to apply, it's a squeeze tube, and it just glides on and instantly works its magic. You do feel a tingle but that shows it's working and I've definitely noticed a little difference in the appearance of my lips after using this. It just leaves them a little fuller than before but it's not too much which is what I've worried about before with products like this. 
Soap and Glory Sexy Mother Pucker Extreme Plumping Gloss

Sexy Mother Pucker Lipstick £9

Next there was the Sexy Mother Pucker Lipstick in the shade Matte Super Nude. In lots of recent beauty posts I've mentioned my love for the Max Factor Elixir lipstick and I really didn't think anything could beat it but this is beautiful! I love a nude lipstick, I'm never one for bright shades and this really is perfect. I've been applying on top of the plumping gloss and I've been so happy with the finished result. It's very natural so it matches well with the rest of my makeup and it looks so pretty. I couldn't talk about this combination enough, I wish I'd discovered both of these sooner!
Soap and Glory Sexy Mother Pucker Lipstick

Archery D-I-Y Brow Bar £12

When I noticed there was a brow product, I really wasn't sure if it was something I'd get much use out of but I've actually been reaching for it each time I've done my makeup since it arrived. I have such dark brows that I've never needed anything before to fill them in with but the good thing about this D-I-Y Brow Bar is that it has 4 compartments meaning you can just use what you want. There are 2 brow powder shades, a pearl shimmering highlighter and a transparent wax to hold your brows in place aswell as tools for applying. I've always thought using something like this would be tricky but it's so simple! All I've been doing is combing through my brows, applying a light coating of the wax, adding a small amount of the darker powder to fill in any small gaps, and then finally dabbing a little of the highlighter along my brow line. I'm really careful to not use too much as I don't want my brows to stand out more than they already do but I've just found this has really kept them in place and just refined them a little. The highlighter has the most stunning glow too!
Soap and Glory DIY Brow Bar

Supercat Black Eyeliner £7

This has actually been the product I've not really used since it arrived because I just can't get the hang of it! I'm no good at liquid eyeliner and haven't been for a long time so I think I just need a bit more practise. I love wearing eyeliner and I rarely go out without pencil eyeliner on my lower lash line, it's probably one of my must have products but this is just a bit too much for me. I've read such good reviews of the Supercat liner though so it's not that it's bad, it has a super fine tip, 12 hour longwear technology, is quick drying and leaves a glossy finish so there are lots of positives, it's just not for me at the moment.
Soap and Glory Supercat Liner
I'm incredibly happy I've had the chance to try out these best selling Soap and Glory products. I can totally see why each of them are so popular and they are a welcome addition to my new makeup bag. Out of these 4 products the lip plumping gloss and lipstick are definite winners, I can't stop using them but Soap and Glory really do have something for everyone to enjoy. 

Are you a fan of Soap and Glory makeup?

*PR samples. Affiliate links used in this post

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Thursday, 2 August 2018

July Favourites - Mamma Mia 2, Pretty Prints & A Few Totally Not Needed Purchases

It's already time for my July favourites and I'm loving that the months seem to be flying by now. We're creeping up to September and all things Autumn and I can't wait! I am done with this warm weather now, anyone else just not a fan of Summer?!
July Favourites - Mamma Mia 2, Pretty Prints & A Few Totally Not Needed Purchases
Barry M Nail Polish - If there is one colour I love on my nails in Summer, it's pink. Whether that's a more pastel shade or a vibrant fuschia, I just always reach for them during the Summer months and a go of mine recently has been the shade Dragon Fruit by Barry M. I've probably mentioned this before on my blog but I just never get tired of it. It lasts incredibly well, is so easy to apply and just looks beautiful on.
Barry M Dragon Fruit Nail Polish
New Look Eye Mask - Did I really need a llama eye mask? No, but did I want one? Yes. As soon as I saw it on the New Look website recently whilst I was doing a bit of online shopping, I had to have it. I think with discount it was about £4.50 which isn't too bad and I just love having something like this to help me sleep. I can't get over how cute it is! New Look are such a favourite of mine, they had some really lovely homeware bits and accessories in last time I looked, they just keep smashing it every time!
New Look Llama Eye Mask
Pastel Elixir Goodies - I'm such a sucker for all things stationery so when I saw Ellis who runs Pastel Elixir was selling mystery boxes for just £5 I had to get one. I'd looked at all of the beautiful goodies before that Ellis sells (I'd always had my eye on the llama print!) but never got round to placing an order so I loved the idea of a mystery box where you have no idea what you'll get. I just had a feeling I was going to love it all and when it arrived I was just so happy. The box came within a few days and I absolutely adore everything that was included. There were 3 prints, which are all adorable, a few cute cards, a bookmark, badges, a mirror and a few other bits, there was so much for the price! I can't wait to put the prints up and the cards are going to be great to put away for any upcoming birthdays. If you haven't already checked out Pastel Elixir make sure you do, there are honestly so many lovely things, I already can't wait to order more!
Pastel Elixir
Imperial Leather Tropical Shower Gel - Like I don't have enough shower gels already! I just couldn't resist this tropical one though from the new Imperial Leather range. They've brought out quite a few new ones recently but this one stood out to me, pineapple and coconut is literally summer in a bottle. It smells incredible and I genuinely look forward to using it, I'm definitely going to have to pick more up while it's around.
Imperial Leather Tropical Shower Gel
Mamma Mia Here We Go Again - I've already put up a full review of this film which you can find here because I just love it so much. With a sequel of course you worry it won't live up to the first film but this really did, I really can't stop thinking about it and the soundtrack is currently on repeat! Whilst it's a happy film with some amazing songs, there were some really sad parts which I feel like I'm still recovering from but they really have created something beautiful with it. If you liked the first film, you'll like this too, I'm genuinely considering going again and seeing it soon because once just wasn't enough for a film that brilliant.
Mamma Mia Here We Go Again
Source
Sephora Almond Foot Mask - I'm finally getting round to using up the bits I bought from Sephora in Paris and the latest was the Almond Foot Mask. I am SO glad I picked one of these up. Depending on the shoes I wear or how long I'm out and about, I can come home with such sore feet so things like this are an absolute life saver. After a busy Saturday a few weeks ago I tried this and it was so refreshing! This contained two masks which you just put on your feet and secure at the ankle. It did feel a little strange at first but I soon got used to it and after taking them off, my feet felt smooth and soothed. I wish I'd bought more but I've seen some similar here in the UK so I'll definitely be getting more when I can.
Sephora Almond Foot Mask
How was your July? Have you managed to see the new Mamma Mia film?

Last months favourites? - Chicago, Love Island and Soap and Glory

*Affiliate links used in this post

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Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Random Question Generator Q&A

I was having a bit of a blog commenting session recently and I saw a post by Jenny called the Random Question Generator Q&A and I knew I had to give it a go! I genuinely love writing posts like this and I love how different this is to your usual Q&A as you have no idea what questions are going to come up! I just found a question generator on Google and went with what came up so some of the questions are a little different to tags that I've done before.
Random Question Generator Q&A
What is your favourite dessert?
I like so many different desserts, I don't know how to choose! I love a good vanilla cheesecake, they're always good in restaurants, but you also can't beat a slice of chocolate fudge cake or chocolate pudding with cream! I don't know, I love dessert far too much to choose just one.

Are you a morning or evening person?
Definitely evening. I'd love to wake up naturally early in the morning but I just love sleep far too much. I also find I'm much more productive at night so it's rare that I'm asleep early and awake early.

What was your favourite subject in school and least favourite subject?
My least favourites were definitely Science and Maths. I just can't do either of them and I wouldn't even know where to start now if I had to go back. I wasn't massively keen on PE either but apart from that I enjoyed most of my other lessons. Towards the end of secondary school I really enjoyed Geography and I kind of wish I'd done more with that afterwards.

What is your favourite breakfast?
I have a few favourites but I'm definitely not great at having breakfast everyday. Some days I love something like yoghurt with fruit and granola, usually in Summer, other days you can't beat a bacon sandwich can you? My all time favourite though is probably a pain au chocolat.

If you could go back in time, what year would you travel to?
I've thought a few times that I'd absolutely love to go back to the first year that George and I were together, in fact just the first few years. Though we live together now and of course I absolutely love that, I sometimes think I'd love to go back to when I used to spend weekends at his and I'd look forward to it all week. It was just the best thing every single Friday, and I miss that feeling sometimes of properly feeling so excited for it if that makes sense. There are lots of things from the first few years that I'd love to go back to and re-live.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
To be honest I have no idea. I did a 5 year plan on my blog a while ago and I'm pretty sure that's not going in the right direction at all! I'd like to think I'll be in a job I enjoy, we'll have moved to a bigger place, we'll have a dog finally, and maybe I'll be a mum if I'm lucky enough? That would be the dream but life doesn't always work out like you want it too so who knows. Hopefully just happy and healthy.. with a dog, the dog is a must.

What was the last thing you recorded on your TV?
I think it was The Handmaids Tale. We're currently watching Series 2 and it's absolutely brilliant! One of the best TV shows on at the moment.

What would you do if you won the lottery?
So many things! I wouldn't know where to start. Depending on the amount buying a house would be the first thing I think, I'd like a nice 4 bedroom house, with a big kitchen and a garden. I'd buy a mini as that's my dream car. Go to Disneyworld and New York, holidays would definitely take up a bit chunk of the money and the rest I'd probably just save for the future.

What is your dream job?
I've actually done a full blog post on this so I won't go on too much but I'd love my own bakery one day. I love baking for other people and it would be such a dream to create different things each day and that be my job.

How many pillows do you sleep with?
I'm quite weird as I love loads of pillows. I usually have two and then two cushions on top, the higher the better! I struggle to sleep so much with just one pillow, I just can't do it, I find it so uncomfortable.

I loved answering all of these questions and I definitely think I'm going to do another one of these posts in the future. Feel free to give it a go on your blog too, there are so many different question generators on Google so you're sure to get a few random things asked!

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