Friday, 20 April 2018

Garnier Moisture Bomb Face Mask Review...

I know these Moisture Bomb face masks by Garnier have been out a long time but I have only just got round to trying one! I've got massively into skincare over the last year or so, which I'm sure regular readers of my blog will know, I've featured several products which I've added to my routine and face masks have been a big part of that. In fact I only uploaded a post a few weeks ago which features a few other masks I've picked up recently but I thought this one, as I'd waited so long to try it, deserved it's own full review.
Garnier Moisture Bomb
The Benefits - This mask is supposed to be good for revitalising dehydrated skin, reducing the look of fine lines and reviving radiance. It's perfect for people who feel their skin is looking a bit dull or has any irregularities and this ultra thin mask which is enriched with pomegranate extract, hyaluronic acid and plant serum is meant to leave you with smoother, bouncier and healthier looking skin in less than half an hour.

What I Thought - This was actually the first tissue face mask I'd ever tried so I had no idea what to expect. I definitely find my skin looks a little dull and needs a bit of brightness bringing back into it and so far I hadn't really found a mask that did that. This wasn't the easiest to apply as the mask was just so slippery but I soon got the hang of it and managed to smooth it onto my skin quite well. I did find that there was some excess serum after I removed the mask but this can be either be wiped away or gently massaged in, I did the latter. I found it made my skin feel really soft after using and super moisturised. I don't often use a moisturiser so it was nice to use a product that felt like a bit of a pamper but was also really doing my skin some good. I found it also made my skin look a bit healthier and not quite as dull as usual which is always nice. The only main issue I have with this is the price. Though the usual price of £2.99 isn't exactly breaking the bank, it is considerably higher than some other face masks. I'm a big fan of the Superdrug 99p ones and also some others from Garnier which are about £1.50 in price. The moisture bomb masks (there are quite a few in the range now) can be found on offer sometimes though but at the moment it's currently £2.99 in Superdrug. A while ago I do think you could sometimes find it for 99p but they've grown in popularity considerably since then so I get why the price has gone up! It's definitely one I'd buy again though when my skin is need of a bit of a revival or refresh and I'm intrigued to see what the others in the range are like and how they differ to this one. I'm just glad I've had the chance to finally try it!

Have you tried the Garnier Moisture Bomb Masks?

*Affiliate link used in this post

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Thursday, 19 April 2018

Slow Cooker Chilli Recipe...

Chilli is a meal I could eat every week and it definitely ends up on our meal plan far more than any other meal, but I just love it! It's a meal that always fills me up and there always ends up being leftovers, so it's a meal I know will last for a few days and can easily be reheated. After making chilli the 'usual' way for years, I've recently started making it in the slow cooker and it's kind of changed my life. Chilli always tastes good to me anyway but for some reason, making it in the slow cooker only improves it. The flavour is really intensified and the sauce is just the the perfect consistency. I wouldn't make it any other way now!
Slow Cooker Chilli Recipe
Ingredients: for 2 people
250g beef mince
1/2 red onion, finely diced
1 pepper finely diced
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp tomatoe puree
1 beef stock cube
Gravy granules
1 tin of drained kidney beans
Salt, pepper, chilli powder, cumin powder, chipotle chilli flakes, mixed herbs

1. Brown off the mince in a frying pan, when cooked add in the onion and pepper and leave to soften
2. Once the mince, onion and pepper is cooked, transfer to the slow cooker
3. Add in the chopped tomatoes and 1 tbsp of tomato puree. Then refill the tin with cold water and add in
4. Next chuck in all of the herbs and spices. This is personal preference really, so add as much spice as you like, then give a good stir and leave on high
5. Add in the kidney beans after 3 hours, stir well and then leave for another hour
6. After about 4 hours, the chilli will be done and can be served with whatever you like!
Slow Cooker Chilli Recipe
Slow Cooker Chilli Recipe
Though this requires a tiny bit of prep at the start with cooking the mince, it's worth it and it's still easily one that can be prepped in the morning. I always cook this for at least 4 hours on high but the longer you leave it, the better it tastes I find. You could also put this on low though for 8 hours if you'd prefer.

What's your favourite slow cooker meal?

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Wednesday, 18 April 2018

The Perfect Movie Night In*

I personally think there isn't much better than a cosy night in, with good food, good company and good films. George and I regularly have movie nights at the weekend, we stock up on a load of snacks and get through several films, and it's the perfect way to spend the night. As we like to have a movie night in so often, I wanted to write about the things that make it for us!
The Perfect Movie Night In
Pamper Evening - To start with, I love a little pamper hour and taking some time for a bit of self care. As much as it's nice to spend all of your time together, sometimes you definitely need a bit of time to do your own thing so I like to have a relaxing bath, with some of my favourite things, while George does his own thing (usually fifa 😂). I'll fill the tub with bubble bath, maybe a bath bomb and I'll set myself out a few bits on my new bath board - totally can't get enough of it. I usually get myself a glass of wine, a good book and I'll do a facemask. Afterwards I tend to re-do my nails and get some fresh PJ's on so I feel refreshed and comfortable.
The Perfect Movie Night In*
ALL of the snacks - Is it a movie night unless you have a ridiculous amount of food? I don't think so. We probably go overboard when it comes to snacks but I'm not going to feel guilty for it. We tend to go for a range of things, anything baked, ice cream, popcorn, sweets, etc and on our latest movie night we had a bit of a variety. We both love our ice cream so we loved having the chance to try some from Oppo on this particular occassion. Oppo is a brand of ice cream that depite still being a decadent and luxurious treat, is made with natural ingredients that have replaced any nasty bits you may find included with other brands. Oppo believe you don't need to compromise when it comes to watching what you eat, everyone deserves a little bit of what they fancy and with their ice cream you can do that and have absolutely no guilt about it. Sounds too good to be true doesn't it? but it isn't. There are four flavours available - salted caramel, madagascan vanilla, mint choc swirl and colombian chocolate and hazelnut. We picked up the mint choc swirl flavour and it was divine! It had such a strong minty taste which I loved but the chocolate swirl that runs throughout is a bonus. The smooth chocolate compliments the mint really well and it's just the best combination! At only 39 calories a scoop, you really couldn't tell it was a healthier ice cream than other brands, it tasted just as indulgent and we couldn't get enough of it. We thoroughly enjoyed having this as part of our movie night and will definitely be picking more up in future. If you want to try some for yourself, you can find it in a range of supermarkets including Asda, Waitrose and Sainsburys for around £4 a tub.
Oppo Ice Cream
Oppo Ice Cream
Getting Cosy & Picking Films -  I love to turn all of the lights off, light a load of candles and get snug with blankets. We have a few different blankets we like to wrap up in but if it's really cold, you can't beat bringing the duvet in the living room! I've been burning a few different candles recently in the living room, those being Wedding Day by Yankee Candle, my Gemporia Birth Stone and also the cutest tea light holders that I featured in a homeware haul not too long ago. They all light the room beautifully! Obviously the main part of a movie night is the film itself and we tend to spend quite a lot of time trying to choose! We love a variety of films so we watch all sorts. Most recently we watched the latest Jumanji film which was really good, also I, Tonya which was brilliant and a must see, and finally Baywatch because The Rock is just great in any film he does and I also pretty much love anything with Zac Efron in at the moment. We usually end up getting through a few films though and really making the most of the evening.

Movie nights have been a favourite thing of ours for so long, it was something we used to do when we first got together years ago and had weekends in which we longed for so much and now it's a nice way to reconnect and spend some time together at the weekend away from all of the usual stresses of work and life! They're something I always look forward to.

Do you love a movie night? What are some essentials for you?

*Oppo Ice Cream provided for the purpose of this post.

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Tuesday, 17 April 2018

York Haul - Sweets, Harry Potter Shops, Cath Kidston & More!

Following on from yesterdays blog post about out recent trip to York, which you can find here, todays post is a haul of everything I bought while we were there. I didn't end up getting loads, just a few bits but I really wanted to share as they have some beautiful little shops around York.
York Haul - Sweets, Harry Potter Shops, Cath Kidstone and More!
I'm going to start with food because we went a little mad in a few different sweet shops on the Shambles. You kind of have to when you're away though don't you? The first one we went to was the York Sweet Shop which had pretty much everything! We got a few different jars of sweets including ButterMint Humbugs, fudge and my favourite, nougat. I got the Chocolate Mint one as it's basically my favourite combination. Everything was so reasonably priced too. The next day we found another little sweet shop just nearby the York Minster so we ended up buying even more. This time we got Rum & Raisin Fudge, Salted Caramel Fudge, Clotted Cream Fudge (can you sense a theme here? We just love it) and rock because you can't not get it. I can't even remember the last time I had some rock so I'm so glad we picked a few up.
Though we ended up finding many Harry Potter shops, the one we ended up buying a few bits from was The Shop That Must Not Be Named. I didn't even know where to start, they had so much and it really wasn't too expensive. I ended up getting a little magnet for my desk and George got something for his too, though we could have both easily got lot more. They had so many notebooks which I was tempted by but I really don't need anymore 🙊 After that I spotted a few souvenior shops so I got myself a few little postcards. If you've read my blog for a while I'm sure you'll know I pretty much collect them. I'm just always drawn to them, I love adding them to our photo wall in the bedroom and I'm currently planning on putting a few up around the spare room/office too, they were 3 for 50p too which is a total bargain and just a nice thing to have to remember the trip.

The next day I bought myself a new mug from Cath Kidston. I know, I know, yet something else I don't need more of, it's a problem. I really want to start replacing some we already have with Cath Kidston mugs and I couldn't resist this Blue London one. It's quite similar to one I already have, just a different colour but I love it! I saw it on the first day and thought no I don't need it, but I went back on the second day. I just loved it. They had so many others that I liked too so I think I was pretty restrained 😉 After that I also popped into Yankee Candle. A while ago I spotted this beautiful little votive holder but for some reason I didn't get it and I kind of instantly regretted it. I thought it would look so nice on my desk so I'd been on a mission since to hunt it down and nowhere near me had it. Luckily I found it in York and it was only £2.99. I also picked up a little wax melt in the scent Spiced White Cocoa, to burn in the living room as it was half price. It smells gorgeous!
Cath Kidston
Yankee Candle
Finally I picked up a few bath bombs from my favourite The Yorkshire Soap Company. I always get something from there when we visit Leeds as their products are so affordable, including the Bomb Cosmetic Bath Bombs, so once I knew there was one in York, I had to go. I got two this time, the Spot On one which has a cute little dog on the top. I actually used this on the first night, and even though it's incredibly cute, it didn't really do much! The other one I got was Splash which is a beautiful bright blue colour, and it smells incredible! I haven't got round to using this yet but I might do a review on it when I do.
Bomb Cosmetics
Bomb Cosmetics
So that's what I ended up buying while I was away! We definitely mainly bought food but there were so many lovely little tea rooms and sweet shops that we just couldn't resist. I'm so happy with everything I got though, I don't think I went too mad but it was nice to go away and treat ourselves. The range of different shops along the Shambles and the city centre is amazing, so much variety and really something for everyone!

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Monday, 16 April 2018

Our Minimoon - 2 Nights In York...

Last week I took a few days away from blogging as we had a little minimoon planned and to be honest I think a break was definitely needed. I've been letting a few things get to me recently but I'm back now and hoping to get back to my usual schedule. Anyway I was so excited to blog about our trip. We planned on going to York a while ago but it felt like it took forever for it to come around! This post is going to be full of photos so I hope you don't mind, I just have so many I want to share! I'm planning on doing a seperate little haul post of the things I bought too as this would just go on forever otherwise!
First of all the hotel we stayed in was stunning! We chose The Grand Hotel and Spa, definitely the fanciest we've ever stayed in but as it was a special occassion, it was totally worth it. It's Yorks only 5* hotel and I can totally see why. When we walked into our room we were greeted with a lovely card congratulating us on getting married recently and there was a plate of chocolates for us too which was such a lovely extra touch. Totally unexpected but made it even more special. I'm planning a proper York travel guide for some point in the future so I'll talk about the hotel more in that but the staff were incredibly friendly and I don't think we'd hesitate to stop there again.
The Grand Hotel and Spa
The first place we went to in the city centre after stopping by at the hotel was Stonegate Teddy Bear Tea Rooms. I spotted this online about a week before we went and as I just love all things bears I though it would be a nice place to visit. There's a little shop downstairs selling just about every famous bear you could imagine along with many other cute bits, and upstairs is the tea room. I had a vanilla milkshake which ended up being absolutely huge, and the Victoria Sponge and George had a Nutcracker Hot Chocolate and the Raspberry Bakewell. Everything was delicious!
Stonegate Teddy Bear Tea Rooms
Stonegate Teddy Bear Tea Rooms
Stonegate Teddy Bear Tea Rooms
We then explored The Shambles and did a little bit of shopping. Even though it was quite rainy, it was still absolutely beautiful. The cobbled streets, the wonky houses, cosy shops, all of it was lovely. One shop we were desperate to visit was The Shop That Must Not Be Named. There are quite a few Harry Potter shops on the Shambles now, so of course we had to go in them all but this is kind of the main one. I got myself a little magnet to go on my desk and George got something aswell, it's actually not as expensive as you might think and totally worth paying a visit to. I'm really wanting to watch all of the films again now!
The Shambles
The Shop That Must Not Be Named
After a good few hours out exploring we headed back to the hotel to get ready for our meal that evening. After seeing Chloe's blog post a while ago about The Cosy Club I was desperate to go so we booked a few days before, and it totally exceeded any expectations I had! Surprisingly if the name didn't let on, inside it's incredibly cosy, so comfortable and welcoming and just a really beautiful place. The food is pretty incredible too. We had camembert to start and then we shared Tapas, something we never have so it was so enjoyable! We were both far too full for dessert but next time we're totally getting the dessert sharing plate.
Cosy Club
The next day we started off at a place called The York Roast Company. We didn't end up leaving the hotel til gone 11 as everything is so closeby in York which is great as there's really no rush. This place was amazing. George had the Yorkshire Pudding Wrap and I had a Pork Sandwich, OMG both were so tasty. It's somewhere we'll definitely be going to again in the future. We then headed to York Minster which is incredible to see. It's absolutely stunning!
York Minster
 As everything is really is only minutes away from one another we then went to see Clifford's Tower and then Merchant Adventurers Hall. Both a must see when visiting York I think. When walking around I was very aware that when I was younger I wouldn't have appreciated any of it but seeing it all now I was just fascinated by it all. These are places I'd seen online before so to actually be there and see how beautiful they are in real life was lovely.
Cliffords Tower
Merchant Adventurers Hall
The rest of our second day was pretty chilled out. After seeing the main attractions in the area we did a little more shopping along the Shambles, stopped off at numerous cafes, picked up some sweet treats from Bettys Tea Room (The Fondant Fancie is lush!) and then had a relaxing evening in the hotel. The bathroom was insane so I took full advantage of the luxurious bath! On our final day as we were in no rush to get home, we decided to go to the National Railway Museum. This was literally a 10 minute walk from the hotel so incredibly easy to get to and it's completely free aswell! Well they recommend you give a donation, which we did but if you're after free things to do in York, I think it's definitely one to consider. I remember going when I was younger, and again I'm sure I didn't find it as enjoyable then as I did now but I'm so glad we went. It was so interesting to see all of the different trains and to get to go and sit aboard them, and find out about the history of them all. We ended up spending about 2 hours there but there is so much to see and do that you could easily spend far longer there. 
National Rail Museum
After collecting our bags from the hotel we then made our way home, and even though we had such a brilliant time, I was definitely a little sad to leave. 2 nights there was perfect, the right amount of time to see everything and it gave us plenty of time to properly take it all in and just take it slow really. In the end we saw everything we set out to but I'd already love to go back. It's just a wonderful city, really beautiful in whatever weather and people are so friendly. I couldn't recommend York enough for a weekend break, a little 'minimoon' like us or even just a day out, it's stunning!

Look out for tomorrows blog post to see what I ended up buying while we were there!

Have you ever been to York?

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Friday, 13 April 2018

My Favourite US Office Episodes...

The US Office has been one of my favourite shows for a good few years now, and I really thought it was about time I did a post all about it and choose a few of my favourite episodes. If you've never seen the US Office, WHY?! and if you have then I'd love to know which episodes you love! For those who haven't seen it, The Office is an american comedy set at paper company Dunder Mifflin. It's sort of a mockumentary and follows a group of people who all work at the same company and we see all sorts of things that go on inside the office and outside, most of it pretty hilarious. A few of its stars are Steve Carrell as Michael Scott the manager, John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer and Rainn Wilson. There is a UK version which is actually the original and stars Ricky Gervais but I really couldn't get into that like I could this. 

I love just about every episode of the american office so it's extremely hard to whittle it down to just a few for this post but I've given it a go and I think I've found some of the best ones ever. I'm also going to try and include clips of each episode in case you haven't seen them.
US Office
1. Dinner Party - One of the best episodes ever of any series! Michael has been seeing his boss Jan and they invite some of the people from the office over for dinner and it doesn't go well at all. Lots of arguments happen and it's some of the best comedy pieces I've ever seen. I could watch this episode over and over!
2. Stress Relief - I don't think there is a better intro to an episode than this one. Dwight decides as no one listened to his fire safety seminar, he would try another approach, and basically starts a fire in the office to see if everyone knows what to do. This causes a load of panic and stress but it's one of the funniest things ever. I don't think many episodes could top this one, and it just gets better and better after the intro. 
3. Jim and Pam's Wedding - Jim and Pams love story is one of the best things about the office. Two people who are totally in love but it takes so long for things to work out for them. Their wedding is one of the best things about the office and it always makes me emotional. The dance everyone does down the aisle is hilarious and just sums the show up.
4. Cafe Disco - I struggled to find clips of this episode online but it's one I always look forward to watching. After temporarily leaving to start up his own business, which goes very wrong, Michael has an office space in the building spare so he decides to start up Cafe Disco, encouraging everyone to forget work and party instead which has mixed reactions.
5. Threat Level Midnight - Michael Scott has been working on a film for 10 years called Threat Level Midnight and he manages to get the rest of the office involved. The plot for the movie is that Michaels character is a retired secret agent after the death of his wife 'Catherine Zeta Scarn' but the US president requests his help with preventing a villian called Goldenface from blowing up the NHL All Star Game where he has held several hostages. It's such a silly episode but so, so good.
6. Beach Games - This is another I couldn't find many clips for but it's one where I think Pam turns a real corner. As I mentioned it takes a long time for Jim and Pams relationship to fall into place so this is the episode where he has moved on and she misses his friendship and she finally says something about it, in front of everyone. While this is going on though, Michael thinks he has secured another job so he is secretly challenging them in a variety of activities to see who is best to take over his job.
I know I probably haven't done any of these episodes justice and I'm sure I won't have explained them brilliantly, but if you haven't seen them yet, you must! It's just one of the best shows and I'm so glad I finally started it. Every episode is funny in its own way and it really never gets boring. I could have listed so many more episodes too but these are the ones that really get me in one way or another.

Are you a fan of the US Office?

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Monday, 9 April 2018

3 Tips For Booking A Summer Holiday On A Budget*

With Summer well and truly around the corner I'm sure many people are starting to think about their summer holiday. Whether you're looking for a city break or an all inclusive beach holiday, there is always a bargain to be found and after recently booking our honeymoon, I found a few things really helped with getting the cost down so I thought I would share some of those tips!
3 Tips For Booking A Summer Holiday On A Budget
1. Be Flexibles With Your Travel Dates - If you can be flexible with the dates of your holiday, then that will really help with cutting costs. When we booked Paris, we just had a rough two weeks in mind that we would like to go so really whenever it was cheapest, we were going to pick. If you have a few days spare either side of your planned date then it's really useful as sometimes just changing it to a day earlier or later can really lower the price. I've found this even when booking places like London, prices vary so much throughout the week so it's worth having a few dates in mind for your holiday.

2. Consider Hotels Further Out - This can work for a variety of different holidays and it's always worth considering. For our city break to Paris we've chosen a hotel that isn't particuarly close to any of the main attractions meaning the price is considerably lower than it would be if we had chosen to stay near the Eiffel Tower for example. There are metros all over the place so being a bit further out really doesn't matter. The same goes for other city break locations like Krakow and Amsterdam. The public transport is amazing meaning you're never too far away from anything. A 10 minute tram ride to save yourself possibly a few hundred pounds on a hotel is definitely worth it. For a more beach type holiday, going all inclusive tends to mean you want to just chill by the pool and not really venture out too far anyway so being in the centre really doesn't matter. There are some beautiful hotels that have pretty much everything you could need anyway, so paying to be a bit more central, if you have no intention of really going out and exploring is a bit pointless. The great thing is if you do decide you want a day out, your holiday reps can easily give advice on buses in the area or they can get you onto different trips so you don't have to miss out on anything.

3. Shop Around For The Best Deal - When booking Paris, I spent days looking on different travel websites trying to find the best deal. I tried lastminute, trivago, and even the different hotels websites to see if it was cheaper booking through them and paying for travel separately, but whatever you're after it's worth shopping around a little bit. In the end for Paris, as we're going via the Eurostar we managed to find a package deal with a hotel included too. The price was definitely lower that way than it was on any other website, so if you're after a city break, package deals are always worth keeping an eye out for as you can definitely save yourself some money. One final tip that kind of goes perfectly with this one is before booking, make sure you have a look for any discount codes online. When we were first looking at booking through last minute I found a few different codes that took a chunk off the final bill. I think the best one I found was £40 off which is a decent amount that can go towards spending money instead!

No matter what your budget is, there will always be offers available so it's really worth having a good look around before jumping in and booking anything. Though we already have a little holiday booked, I'm already thinking about where else we could go for some summer sun and I've found some great holiday deals online recently. At the moment I currently have my eye on are Ibiza and Menorca. They both have a short flight time and each have so much to offer. Though you may associate Ibiza with partying and cocktails, it's also known for it's stunning beaches and family friendly resorts so there is something suitable for everyone there. Menorca though is a great choice for an affordable yet luxurious break. With historic attractions, stunning beaches, traditional restaurants and plenty of fun activities for the whole family, there is so much to see and do. Both Ibiza and Menorca are great destinations for a summer holiday on a budget, and certainly ones I'm tempted by. An all inclusive holiday this summer where I can sunbathe with a cocktail and unlimited ice cream? YES PLEASE.

Have you got any holidays planned yet?

P.S There won't be a post until at least Friday as we're away for a few days from tomorrow so I just thought it was the perfect excuse to have a little blogging break. See you at either the end of the week or early next week for a new post!

*This post is in collaboration with Holiday Gems

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Friday, 6 April 2018

Travel Plans For 2018...

For years George and I have been saying 'this needs to be the year we go on holiday' but it's just never happened so this year we've said it, we really, really mean it, and we actually have proper plans in place which makes a change! As we have a few different little holidays planned I thought I'd do a blog post about them and explain why some of the places are at the top of our list!
Travel Plans For 2018!
York - I actually only did a blog post about York a few weeks ago which explained why I'm so keen to go there, so you can find that here, if you would like to have a read of it. We're actually going next week and I can't wait! I thought it was the perfect place to go as a little 'minimoon' as it's somewhere we've never been before and it just looks beautiful. I'm so excited to walk around the city, visit the cathedral, go to the Shambles and so much more. We've booked the most wonderful hotel which is definitely the fanciest we'll have ever been to, but as it's a special occassion it's totally worth it. I've already found some cosy little restaurants that I can't wait to visit and I'd love to go for afternoon tea at Bettys Tea Room! Oh, and York's Chocolate Story looks perfect for us, because we are actually a little addicted to it.
Paris - For our proper honeymoon we were torn between Paris and Amsterdam, and it wasn't really until it came to actually sitting down and booking that we settled on Paris. I am incredibly excited! Paris has been on our list for ages but I didn't think we'd actually go any time soon, thinking about it now though is there anywhere else more perfect for a honeymoon? We're going for 3 nights in May and I just can't wait, it's going to be amazing to wander around and just see what we find, and of course eat as many croissants as we can. I could eat pain au chocolat everyday so I don't think there is another place more suited to me! I'm currently making a list of places we want to see so if you have any recommendations of things we should do or any food we should try, let me know!
London - Even though we've been to London many times now, I can't let a year go by where we don't go for at least a night. I'm usually so sad when we come home but after a night there in November, I actually felt okay and I was just so happy we went as it was such a last minute thing, but as time has gone on I've started getting that urge to go back again. We've done a lot there now so we don't really need more than one night there, but we're going to go the week after we come back from Paris. We're mainly going to see another show, this time Kinky Boots, which I can't wait for! but of course we'll also make a trip to places like Borough Market and Covent Garden, our absolute favourites. It already feels like such a long time since we last went so I'm counting down the days.
I just can't wait to get exploring this year and go on little adventures together. I am so looking forward to seeing some new places and having our first proper holiday abroad!

Have you got any travel plans for this year?

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Thursday, 5 April 2018

Refreshing Our Home For Spring*

Though the weather is very up and down at the moment, Spring is here and it's been making me want to have a serious sort out in our flat. Does anyone else get like that at the start of a new season? I always get the urge to almost start again as each new season starts and have a little refresh of everything. As I'm in a serious sorting mode right now, I wanted to do a post on a few things I'm doing to change up our home for Spring and Summer this year, and they're all things you can do too!
Refreshing Our Home For Spring*
De-Clutter Each Room & Get Rid - I find we get our flat into a good state and everything will have it's own place but over time we just get a bit lazy with it all and before we know it things have started to build up again. Our spare room is the main problem and it's been the bane of my life for the last 3 years! It's not too bad at the moment as it's close to becoming an office but that's basically been a dumping ground since we moved in. Every so often George and I like to have a serious de-clutter and sort through all of our stuff in each room. I always feel 10x better afterwards! We always find things that we just don't need and have been holding onto for no reason at all, just taking up space that could be used for other things. To do a serious de-clutter I tend to tackle one room and he will do another, that way we're out of each others way and can just focus on the job in hand. I tend to start in the kitchen, getting pretty much getting everything out of the cupboards and only putting things back in that we actually genuinely need and use. We apply this to each room and afterwards everything feels so much clearer, clean and fresh. I also find when the flat is tidy, I feel much more focused and together, it's so true 'tidy house, tidy mind'.

Spring Clean - Following on from my last point, when doing a bit of a sort out, give everything a good clean too whilst you're at it. When sorting through the kitchen, before putting things back in their place, I give it all a deep clean and by the end it looks like brand new. I do the same with every other room and by the end of the day everything looks sparkly clean and smells beautiful. I like to pick up cleaning bits from places like B&M as they're really not expensive and last ages so that's all I use. I always feel so much better after a proper spring clean, put some music on and get to it and by the end you'll be so thankful you did.

Bring In New Spring Like Pieces - I always like to pick up a few bits to change up each room when a new season starts, I just can't help myself. For Spring I'm all about the yellows, flowers and pastels and I find bringing in a few new pieces like this can completely change up a room. At the moment I'm after a yellow fluffy blanket to add to the living room, I'm loving this Honey one from Asda and it's only £5! Next also have some gorgeous Spring pieces in like this Meadow Floral Bedding, Time For Tea Oven Gloves, Our Nest Doormat, and my personal favourite the Wooden Digestive Tray - perfect for afternoons in the garden with a cup of tea! Another place I've been looking for a few Spring like pieces is Groupon. Groupon are somewhere I've turned to a few times in the past for all sorts of bargains, you can find just about anything, from brilliant patio and garden furniture deals, to Home Decor and even Health and Beauty amongst lots of other things. I'm currently eyeing up the Yankee Candle bundles as I clearly don't already have enough!

So that's the things I'm currently doing to get our home feeling all fresh and spring like! I love a clear out and I think the start of a new season is always the perfect time to do that. 

*This post is in collaboration with Groupon. Affiliate links also used in this post

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Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Some Kind Of Wonderful By Giovanna Fletcher Book Review...

Recently I've really got back into reading again and it's been so nice to pick up a book and just get stuck in. I ordered a few from Amazon last month, one of those being Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine which I've already reviewed and one being Some Kind Of Wonderful by Giovanna Fletcher. Book reviews aren't something I've ever really done on my blog but I loved writing about Eleanor Oliphant so I thought why not carry on and do a review of Some Kind Of Wonderful too?
When the love of your life says you're not The One, who are you? 
Lizzy and Ian have been a couple since the first week of university. Now, after celebrating a decade together, everyone thinks they're about to get engaged. Instead, a romantic escape to Dubai leaves Lizzy with no ring, no fiance and no future. Lizzy is heartbroken - but through the tears, she sees an opportunity. This is her moment to discover what she's been missing while playing Ian's 'better half'. But how much has Ian changed her, and who should she be without him? Determined to discover who she is at heart, Lizzy sets out to rediscover the girl she was before - and, in the meantime, have a little fun...

My review - I've been following Giovanna Fletcher on Instagram for a while but it's taken me until this year to buy one of her books and I really don't know why that is as I've seen so many great reviews of her previous books, such as Billy and Me. As I saw many of her insta stories last year where she showed herself working until late writing and clearly putting so much time and effort into it, this one stood out to me from the beginning and just like the sort of story I'd like to read. I started it pretty much straight after I'd finished Eleanor Oliphant and though both quite different stories, both I loved for their own reasons. This was a very easy read and just so enjoyable, I ended up getting through the whole thing in just a few days as I couldn't put it down. I'm going to try not to give too much away now but I want to try and explain properly why I loved it so much. You might think as it starts with Lizzy being dumped, it could be all doom and gloom but it really wasn't. We get to see the change over time of Lizzy from broken hearted girl to a strong single woman, and without giving too much away I love the journey she goes on. I thought Lizzy was a really relatable character, as even if you haven't been heartbroken like her, everyone has moments of doubt and confusion over where their life is going, and who they really are, and that's what a lot of this is about. I know I could certainly get where she was coming from, sometimes you do look around see so many people with their life together, and wonder when that will be you, so for that reason I think she's someone a lot of women could warm too and gain some comfort from. Something else I loved about the story was how realistic it was. After splitting with Ian, she finds herself back at her mums, being supported by family and friends. There's no big 'thing', it's just very normal and probably how a lot of people would deal with being single after such a long relationship. Finally, I also really enjoyed that there wasn't another big romance brought into it. Though there are hints of something between Lizzy and new friend Alistair, she doesn't jump straight into it and act as if the past with Ian never happened. It's a very empowering story I suppose of how you don't need a man to make you happy, and even though I love the little bits between those two (and I'm deffo rooting for them if there's a follow up), it was left open and definitely not the main focus of the book which I liked.

Overall I just loved reading Some Kind Of Wonderful. It made me smile, laugh and even get a little bit emotional, but I think that's how you know it's a good book if it makes you feel something. So far I've not seen anything about a follow up to this but I so hope one day there will be. Lizzy was a really endearing character for many reasons and I'd love to see how life turned out for her. 

If you want to give this a read, which I highly recommend you do, it's currently £6.49 on Amazon.

Have you read Some Kind Of Wonderful? or any other books from Giovanna Fletcher?

*Affiliate links used in this post

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Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Instagram Roundup #2 - March

I loved putting together my first Instagram roundup last month. I just found it was a good way to keep people up to date on what's been posted recently as with the algorithm as it is, sometimes you miss things and it's impossible to keep up! I always love reading these sorts of posts so I thought I would carry on with mine.
Instagram Roundup #2 - March
Instagram Roundup #2 - March
The Yorkshire Soap Company - One of the best places to visit for me in Leeds, if not my favourite, is the Yorkshire Soap Company. They stock lots of Bomb Cosmetics goodies which I always end up splashing out on but the whole shop is just stunning. They have the prettiest slices of soap which look just like cake and they all smell incredible! Next time I go I'm going to have to pick some more bits up I think, they have so much choice.

Leeds Haul - We picked quite a few bits up when were in Leeds, mostly food. I wanted to share some of the bits I got as they have some of the best shops there. We bought cookies, american goodies, face masks, bath bombs, candles and a few other bits. It was so nice to have a little shopping spree.

Perfect Hot Chocolates - Hot chocolate is just the best. As it was snowing when we went to Leeds we stopped off for a drink in Costa, something we rarely do and I had the nicest hot chocolate. I love little coffee dates like that so I can't wait for more of those in future.

Photo Taking Session - I have to be really in the mood to take blog photos so when I actually felt up for it at the start of the month, I pretty much locked myself in the spare room and had a mammoth photo taking session. I was incredibly happy with how the photos turned out. I experimented with different props, backgrounds and just got a bit more creative. I love having a stock of photos ready to post!

Birchbox Discoveries - After having a bit of a sort out of a load of beauty products in the spare room I found a few from my Birchbox subscription that I had been so excited about but basically just set aside when I got them. I'm testing them all out now and I'll have a little roundup post soon with some of my thoughts on each of them.

L'oreal Paris Beauty Egg - I love treating myself to new beauty products every so often and I couldn't resist getting one of the new beauty eggs from Superdrug. I went for the L'oreal one as I'm loving their skincare at the moment and I've been so impressed with everything inside. I actually have a full post up about this now if anyone wants to know more.

Internation Women's Day - I'm all for girls supporting other girls so I loved how everyone came together on International Women's Day. I loved the quote I shared and I also posted one on my Insta stories which is one of my favourite ever - Here's to strong women, may we know them, may we be them, may we raise them.

Homemade Blondies - Blondies are one of my absolute favourites to bake. They're so simple and quick but taste so delicious. I had the urge to bake one night recently so I whipped up a quick batch of these and it's safe to say we got through them pretty quickly. Full recipe post here if you want to try them!

Foundation Recommendations - After running low of my favourite foundation, the Rimmel Lasting Finish one, I was after some recommendations. I'm always torn between sticking with what I love and what works for me, or branching out and trying out some others.

Lazy Sundays - Aren't they just the best? We had such a chilled day that consisted of naps, rubbish TV and bacon sandwiches, and then I had the most relaxing bath with a glass of wine and a good book. The white wine from SlimLine Wine was genuinely one of the best I've ever tasted!

Desk Accessories - Paperchase are an absolute favourite of mine for little blog props and office accessories. I picked up a few bits recently including this postcard and I just love the quote on it. I want to get it framed for the office to motivate me whenever I need it.

Bomb Cosmetics Polar Express - I can't get over how cute this bath bomb is! I picked it up when we went to Leeds and used it pretty much as soon as we got home. It was so inexpensive too so it's definitely one I'll be getting again.

Benefit Roller Lash - After using the Benefit Roller Lash Mascara for a while now, I really need to get a new one. I've loved and hated this mascara from the start, some days it's worked really well and other times it's just not done what I've wanted it to so I'm on the lookout for another at the moment. I think I'm going to pick up one from Maybelline as they're much more affordable and people seem to love them.

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine - This book! I couldn't stop reading. I started it late one afternoon and by 3pm the next day I'd finished it. I can't even remember the last time that happened, it's such a brilliant read.

Snow Days - We ended up with yet more snow days so this day was all about cups of tea, pizza and films. We just love a lazy day and the snow gave us the perfect excuse (not that we really needed one) to stay in, all cosy.

The Most Gorgeous Bag - I couldn't not share a photo of a bag I bought recently, I just love everything about it! It's the prettiest peach colour and I love the style of it. It's been so long since I treated myself to a new bag and I'm very glad I spotted this one!

Essie Faves - Essie are definitely one of my go to nail brands, I just love the range of colours they stock. Some of my favourites of theirs are the darker shades but I do love the lighter colours too and all of the pinks. They're perfect for spring, despite the weather being a bit all over the place at the moment!

100 Blog Post Ideas - I was so happy with this blog post! I don't often share my posts on my actual instagram photos, usually just insta stories if I'm going to but I felt like this was one that might help fellow bloggers so it was definitely worth sharing!

Garnier Moisture Bomb - Finally I managed to get my hands on one of these! I'd heard such good things about them but had just got never ended up buying any from the range.

Easter Chocolate Cake - Throwback to this delicious chocolate cake I made a few years ago. I've made it a few times now but not recently so I definitely think it's one I have to bake again soon.

Body Shop Goodies - Like I could resist the latest Body Shop sale. To be fair it had been quite a while since I last shopped there. I picked up a few bits including minis for travelling, shower gel and bath bombs, and I'm so happy with each thing I got. It was all so cheap too with the discount code!

Lush April Showers Bath Bomb - How cute is this?! I'd not had a bath bomb from Lush in ages so when I saw this online, I so wanted to try it. I'm pretty sure it was the cheapest of the Easter range too!

A New Foundation - I finally decided to brave it and try out a new foundation. That sounds dramatic but when I find something that works for me, it's difficult to know whether to stick with it or give something else a try every so often. After hearing so many rave reviews, I bought the L'oreal Paris True Match and so far I'm loving it!

Reasons To Stay Alive by Matt Haig - This book has been a favourite of mine for a long time now, and after the author himself sharing this picture on Twitter and Instagram, I felt like I had to share it again. As I said on Twitter that day, some people get reposted by big beauty brands, but I got it from my favourite author and that makes me incredibly happy. The book is brilliant so if you haven't read it yet, you really should!

Paris! - We finally booked our honeymoon! We were so torn between Amsterdam and Paris, in fact we were pretty much set on Amsterdam and then last minute I kind of changed my mind. We're going on the Eurostar in May for 3 nights and I just can't wait. It will be our first time abroad together and obviously as it's our honeymoon, Paris just seemed like the perfect place.

The Body Shop Honeymania - Why I have only just got round to trying this?! I definitely have my favourite ranges, those being the Peach and the Grapefruit but this is definitely sneaking up there. It's incredibly sweet so I can't wait to try more from the range.

L'oreal Paris Easter Egg - Another photo of the L'oreal Paris Egg because it's just so exciting! I loved the sample of the Hydra Genius Moisturiser that was included so I really wanted to see if anyone else has tried it, before purchasing the full thing.

Lemon Drizzle Cake - Throwback to another one of my favourite bakes. I really don't know why I don't make this more because it's so incredibly easy. I'll leave the recipe here if you want to give it a go. It's definitely something I need to make in the next few weeks!

A Serious Sort Out - This flatlay had pretty much no relevance but I thought it was pretty. It took ages for it to look how I imagined but I'm happy with how it turned out. The day I posted this ended up being a real sort out day which was so needed. Things seem to just build up in this flat and it was driving me mental!

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Monday, 2 April 2018

The Things Nobody Tells You About Having A Blog...

When I first started a blog I didn't really have a clue what I was doing. I was just kind of winging it therefore there were a lot of things I really didn't realise would happen over time. I thought I'd list a few of the things that nobody ever told me, but have kind of shaped my blog to become what it is today.
The Things Nobody Tells You About Having A Blog...
You'll Spend Money On It - When I first set up my blog I had no idea that one day I'd need to start putting money into it to really get anywhere with it. It took me a long time to finally get myself a domain because I just had no idea what that meant before and why I needed it but the more I started working with brands, the more important I realised it was. Having your own domain is essential for building your DA, therefore increasing your chance of working with more brands so it's really important you invest in it if you can. I think I pay about £16 every two years for mine so it really isn't much and it's totally worth it. After a few years I also finally took the plunge and spent about £30 on a new blog template and then around £15 on a new header. I couldn't really make something of the one I had so I just had to spend that money. There are lots of affordable ones out there on places like Etsy so you don't have to spend much, but yeah I had no idea that things like this cost money when I first started.

It's Hard Work - I know blogging isn't exactly the most testing of jobs or hobbies but it really does require a lot of hard work, time and effort, so much more than I ever realised. I spend hours and hours each week working on new posts, taking photographs, promoting posts, interacting with others and it builds up. If you want to get anywhere in any job or if you just want your blog to take off a little bit, you need to put the work in. As I said in a recent post, when I started blogging I just expected people to find my blog out of nowhere, it's only now I realise how much work goes into it and what really happens behind the scenes.

People Will Try To Take Advantage Of You - Whether you've been blogging for 1 day or 1 year, you deserve to be treated fairly by brands and PRs but unfortunately at the start it's hard to realise when you're being taken advantage of. When you first talk to brands and get emails, it can be so exciting but the majority of people want something for nothing. I remember the first year or so I did a few posts that now I would instantly know not to take. There was a post about my first home, of course there was no budget to pay me but little old me thought OMG a brand wants to work me, so I didn't even think of payment, I didn't think I was worthy yet. There was also sponsored posts that were of no relevance to my blog that I got paid about £25 for, again at the time that amount was amazing because someone wanted to pay me, I had no idea that actually that amount was far too small regardless of the fact I was a new blogger. It's personal preference what you choose to accept for sponsored content but I so wish I knew now not to take such low amounts, because more often than not, these brands do have more to give!

Your Home Will Be Full Of Fake Flowers and Candles - The amount of artificial flowers I have in this flat now is kind of bordering on a joke. I'm always picking up fake roses in IKEA or looking for fake bunches of peonies on EBAY because they make good props, but seriously I never thought I'd need things like this! Also I've always loved candles but now I have far more than I actually need. I buy them because they'll look good on Instagram or will be a good prop and it seems no matter how many I have, I just always need more!

People Won't Understand - Luckily as far as I'm aware the people I surround myself with are supportive of my blog, and I like to think a little bit proud but I have no doubt that there will be others who just don't understand. I think unless you're a blogger yourself it can be hard to know what the point of a blog is and why you spend hours taking photos of nail polish but that's just how it is. I myself probably wouldn't get it properly if I'd never started.

You Always Want To Spend - The majority of the time now when I go on Instagram or read other blogs, I find something I want. I find myself wanting to spend all the time - the latest beauty craze, the skincare product everyone is talking about, the prettiest candle that of course will match the living room perfectly even though no more are needed, and so many other things. Fellow blogger Samantha summed it up really well in a post not too long ago, blogging has made us 'wanty'. I find myself now wanting to buy things I'd have never considered before, just because other bloggers have it.

It Takes Time To Grow - Growing your blog and social media really does take time and it's true that it doesn't happen overnight. I've been blogging for nearly 4 years now and lots of people have overtaken me in followers but that's okay. It's just important to interact with other bloggers when you can, promote your posts and just keep having fun with it. The followers will come in time.

Can you relate to any of these things? I hope I'm not the only one that didn't really have a clue what was going on when they first started and didn't really know any of these things!


Friday, 30 March 2018

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine - Book Review..

I don't often write book reviews because I just don't think I'm the best at explaining things and doing them justice but I could not put this book down and genuinely think it's one of the best I've ever read, so I thought I have to at least try and do some sort of review because it totally deserves it. This was one of those books that seemed to be doing the rounds on social media, I couldn't go more than a few days without it popping up on Instagram and eventually I thought, okay I just need to read this, there must be a reason people won't stop talking about it. Now that I've read it I can totally see why it's had so many positive reviews.
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine - Book Review
'Meet Eleanor Oliphant. She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she's thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy. But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kind of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living. And it is Raymond's big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one'

My review - Pretty much as soon as I started this book I was hooked. Straight away I was intrigued by Eleanor and wanted to find out more. It didn't take long for me to start to understand why Eleanor is the way she is, she'd clearly had a difficult past from the snippets we were told and she soon became someone really endearing, someone I was rooting for. I loved that Eleanor just says what she wants and genuinely doesn't care what people think, I so wish I could be more like that, but there was clearly a deep sadness to her that really got to me. The theme of loneliness runs throughout the book which I'm sure is something a lot of people can relate to but there is also so much humour throughout. Just subtle little lines she says that made me laugh out loud, or some of the situations she gets herself into, you can't help but giggle so there was a really good mix throughout the whole book. I think part of the reason I love the character Eleanor so much is because I could see bits of myself in her and could really relate. What with her being quite socially awkward and not really knowing how to interact with people sometimes, I'm exactly like that and I'm sure people think I'm a bit strange sometimes too! I found myself desperate to see her get a happy ending, but I won't spoilt it for you - it was just one of those books where I was really just willing for things to work out for her. Overall the book is just brilliant and I could rave about it all day. It's a beautiful story of love, hope and happiness with many twists and turns throughout. In fact the plot twist at the end, had me so shocked, I almost wanted to go back to the beginning and read it again! To say this is Gail Honeyman's first novel, you would honestly never be able to tell. I was genuinely hooked from the first page to the very end and I got through it all within 24 hours, I can't even remember the last time that happened. I could picture all of the characters so well and I was really sad by the time I'd finished it as I just wanted it to keep going! I just couldn't recommend it enough, it totally deserves the hype it's getting and I think it will be one I keep forever and re-read.

Favourite Quotes

'People don't like these facts, but I can't help that. If someone asks how you are, you are meant to say FINE. You are not meant to say that you cried yourself to sleep last night because you hadn't spoken to another person for two consecutive days. FINE is what you say.'

'Sometimes you simply needed someone kind to sit with while you dealt with things.'

'The supermarket in question carried a wide range of quality goods - not just food and drink, but toasters, sweaters, frisbees and novels. It wasn't a Tesco Metro, it was a Tesco Express. It was, in short, one of my favourite places in the world.'

Have you read Eleanor Oliphant yet? If so, what did you think?

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