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Wednesday, 28 February 2018

My Current Perfume Collection...

I first did a post like this a few years ago when my perfume collection had a grand total of 2 bottles, those being my trusty Boss Orange and a random one from The Body Shop. Though I don't have a huge collection now, I definitely have more than I did and enough to warrant a post all about them I thought. I very rarely buy myself perfume and as it tends to be expensive I don't expect it as a present but the ones I currently have are all ones I'd get again at some point and don't break the bank.
current perfume collection
Next Just Pink Perfume - This was a total bargain and now an absolute favourite of mine. I'd ran out of every bottle I had so when we went to London last May I thought I would treat myself and I decided on picking a bottle up from Next as I knew they were really affordable and had a huge range. I was spoilt for choice and we were in there for ages because they had so many I liked but eventually I decided on Just Pink which is a fresh and floral fragrance. I was instantly drawn to it because of the bottle. I think it looks really high end and so classy, I knew it would be a good one for the bedside table as it's too pretty to hide away. The scent of this perfume is beautiful, and everytime I use another one for a while and then go back to this, I always wonder why I ever stopped. It has a scent of fruity mandarin, green florals and jasmine with patchouli so it's a perfect choice for Spring and Summer, in fact that's what it reminds me of everytime I use it. This bottle is only £14 so it's definitely one I'll get again.
next just pink perfume
Ghost Eclipse - I love it just after Christmas when all of the sales start as you can always find great brands on offer, including Ghost which is one of my favourites for perfume! I noticed they had a few of their mini perfumes on offer so I strongly hinted to George that it might be a good one to consider for my birthday and it turns out he paid attention as I unwrapped the Ghost Eclipse perfume! Isn't it such a gorgeous bottle? It's another one that makes me think of holidays! If you hadn't already been able to tell, how it looks is just as important to me as the scent, I'm quite fussy when it comes to perfume. I'd heard so many good things about this but I think for perfumes you haven't personally tried them yourself, a mini is always a good idea when you can find them. This has a really fruity scent of sweet bergamot, lemon, mandarin, apple and peach, doesn't that sound like heaven! It's a really sweet and feminine fragrance and it lasts for hours, I definitely think this will be a go to of mine in the warmer months. The mini perfume is currently available for £6.99 at the perfume shop or the bigger bottle is available at Boots for £34.
ghost eclipse perfume
Diesel Loverdose - This is the latest addition to my perfume collection and I'm a little obsessed with it! One of Georges kind friends got us both a wedding present and this was the one for me, it was totally unexpected and so thoughtful! The only time I'd ever got anything from Diesel was years ago at Christmas and even then I was buying an aftershave for George, I'd never known they did perfumes for women actually. Like with the other two, the bottle is insane! I love the striking design of it and the deep purple colour. I really like the scent of this as it's a little different to the others I've already mentioned. It's got top notes of mandarin and star anise, heart notes of sambac jasmine, liquorice and gardenia, and base notes of amber and vanilla. What's great about this is that even though it's quite a sweet scent it's not over the top and all the combinations of fragrances works really well together. I especially love the hint of liquorice that comes through at the end, it's so unlike any perfume I've had before. It's currently £31 in Boots for a 50ml bottle.
The Body Shop Peach Body Mist - This isn't strictly a perfume, more of a body spray but it's a bargain and just as worthy of a mention as the others. Peach is my all time favourite scent so when the body shop had a sale on a few months ago and I saw they had a full range dedicated to my favourite, I had to stock up on a few bits. This is definitely the opposite to the perfume above as it's extremely sweet but I can't get enough of it! I love to spray this on when I'm into fresh PJ's or on my way out and as it's cheaper than the others in my collection, I don't feel too bad using more. As it's such a strong scent it does last for ages and as the peach scent is an absolute winner of mine, that's definitely not a bad thing. I got this for only £4 in the sale, it's usually £8 but it's not available online anymore. They seem to get rid of certain ranges every so often so it's hard to know what's actually been discontinued and what's coming back. Hopefully this will be available again at some point as it's just fab.
the body shop peach mist
I'm so happy with all of the perfumes in my little collection at the moment and I definitely think I'd repurchase them all again in the future. Though the Diesel Loverdose is on the higher end of the scale it's definitely worth the money, and it really is of good quality, but for those wanting more of a bargain, there really are some gems from places like Next and The Body Shop. You really don't have to spend much on a decent bottle of perfume so I hope if you're in the market for a new one, this has given you a bit of inspiration!

What's your current go to perfume?

*Affiliate links used in this post

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Tuesday, 27 February 2018

TV Shows You Need To Watch #3

Last year I did two posts all about some of my favourite TV shows and because I watch so many different things, I already have another full of brilliant programs I highly recommend you watch! Like the other two posts there is a real mix of stuff here, all of which are so enjoyable and had me hooked for different reasons!

Game Of Thrones - I'm quite surprised it's taken me so long to feature Game Of Thrones in one of these posts! That being said I did leave it a long time before starting it. It was one of those shows I was convinced I would hate and as it was so hyped up, I just thought I'd be let down. How wrong was I?! As it's a medieval fantasy type show, I really didn't think it would be my sort of thing but the battles between the families, and the not knowing of who is going to end up on top, is just brilliant and I feel like every episode leaves me hooked and wanting more. I definitely have my favourites, and I'd personally love Jon Snow or Arya Stark to end up on the throne, but I just can't wait to see how it ends. I definitely don't understand why everyone loves Daenerys so much though! I'm not a fan.
game of thrones
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Pretty Little Liars - This was another program that I put off for literally years. It wasn't until 2017 that I finally decided to watch it, but as I did that, it meant I could get through it all in one go! I did a full post on my thoughts and questions about this show so I won't go on too much about it but if you haven't watched it yet, you definitely need to! The not knowing who A was all through each series and seeing all of these bad things just keep happening was so tense but I love how they did so much of it and how we had different reveals throughout. The ending definitely left me feeling a little mixed and by that point I had grown to hate some of the characters, but it's definitely one I'd go back and watch again.
pretty little liars
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Liar - This show. I'm not sure where to start! This was on quite recently and it was definitely one of the best of 2017. It was about Laura and Andrew who went out on a date and spent the night together, but the next day they both have very different versions of how it actually went. Laura is convinced she was raped that night but he is adamant everything was consentual and she's making it up. I truly believed him for so long as his character was so charming and just didn't seem like the sort of person to do something like that. I suppose that was the shows aim though, to show anyone could do something like that and how easy it is for people to get away with it. They revealed in episode 3 I think that Laura was telling the truth and he had been lying all along so the rest of the series was about trying to get him sent to prison for what he did. I never predicted for it to go the way it did and I definitely didn't expect the ending we got, leaving it open for another series. It was just one of those shows that left me feeling like I couldn't breathe after each episode and I can't believe how wrong I got it!
liar
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Fresh Meat - This is definitely unlike the rest of the shows I've mentioned so far but one I just love. It's a comedy about a group of people sharing a house while at university. As I said in a favourites post last year, it's such a simple concept and not actually loads happens but each episode is really good and just as funny as the last. It's one of those shows that's just really chilled and can be put on in the background while working or could easily be binge watched over the weekend. It's one I'll be going back to again in the future and watching and I'm so sad it's finished for good.
fresh meat
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Bancroft - If you want a show that's going to leave you shouting at the TV, this is the one for you! Several times throughout this 4 part series, I was shouting NO, I just couldn't believe some of it! This was only on in December so very recent but one that had to be mentioned. It stars Sarah Parish as DC Bancroft, a very successful and loved officer, and Faye Marsay as Detective Sargeant Katherine Stevens who has just started investigating cold cases. When working on the cold case of a murder of a girl called Laura Fraser, DS Stevens starts to form a connection between the dead girl and DC Bancroft. Each episode sees her uncovering more and more of Bancrofts secrets and trying to get justice for Laura. I won't spoil it for you but the ending left me reeling! I couldn't believe how they had left it and I'm not 100% sure if they should do another series or not, but it was just shocking. It was so good but definitely stressed me out.
bancroft
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American Horror Story Cult - American Horror Story is a series I tend to go back to several times and never properly finish! They've done so many different series' now but the latest one was Cult and it was incredible! I don't really think you have to watch the past series' in order as they do different characters for each one, so I watched this while it was on TV last year and I was genuinely hooked each episode. The story for this series was centered around the 2016 presidential election so very current, and it starred Sarah Paulson as Ally, devastated over the result, and she has to deal with several of her phobias intensifying because of it. And it also stars Evan Peters who plays Kai, overjoyed with the result, and the one who decides to form a cult, targeting several people, one of them being Ally. I probably haven't explained it too well but so much happens throughout, it's very hard to not give everything away! I didn't want this series to end, I think it's the best one they've ever done and I just couldn't believe how it played out.
ahs cult
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I love each and every one of these shows for so many different reasons and I couldn't recommend them enough! I think there is something for everyone here, drama, comedy, fantasy, just so many different types of program but all great in their own way. I'd love to know if you've seen any of these and what you thought? Or are there any other shows you recommend I watch? I just love TV too much

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Monday, 26 February 2018

A Romantic Night In With SlimLine Wine*

I love a romantic night in, with a bottle of wine, a film and some good food. Even though Valentines was a few weeks ago I wanted to talk about what George and I did as we always like to make something of the day and celebrate it. It was our first proper date night in such a long time and it was kind of just what we do every Valentines but with a few extras including a fancy bottle of wine from SlimLine Wine.
slimline wine
I always look forward to Valentines and this year I'd been planning for a good few weeks. We'd booked tickets to see the new (and final 😭) Fifty Shades film ages ago so that was how we started our evening, with a load of nachos and sweets. We go to the cinema quite often anyway but it's kind of tradition now for us to go on Valentines and then we usually end up going for a meal afterwards or cooking at home. This year we decided to cook, and as basically all of the supermarkets were doing a Valentines special meal deal, we picked up one of those to save us lots of hassle when we got in that night. We went for the Asda deal this year as it was £15 and had so much choice! For starter we had Cornish Camembert which came with a sloe gin and cranberry dip. For main we had our favourite, steak, with hasselback potatoes and roasted veg, and finally for dessert we had Lemon tarts which were delicious.
valentines meal
To go with all of that tasty food we needed something to wash it down and the Sparkling White from SlimLine Wine was perfect! SlimLine Wine launched their range of delicious new wines in December and that range is the world's first ever zero sugar zero carb wine. Though we definitely indulged with food that night, the drink was brilliant at only 373 calories for the full bottle! Though the calories are less than you might expect, the wine is made using the highest quality grapes so you still get all of the flavour and strength of regular wine but with no added nasties, sugar or carbs in the mix.
slimline wine
Just to give you a bit of background information about the brand, all SlimLine Wines are made by talented Dan Cusmano in Piedmont, a place where there is no other industry but wine. All bottles of wine are made from their own vineyards which are carefully situated to ensure you get the best product possible, and these were created for all of us who want to live a bit healthier but without compromising on our favourite things! I was so looking forward to opening this on Valentines and it didn't let me down. When I first tasted this I could really tell it was of high quality and clearly absolutely no compromise had been made on taste because it was just like any other sparkling wine I'd had before, just with far less calories. I always enjoy a glass of prosecco but as I don't reach for one too often, this felt like a real treat.
slimline wine
Bottles like this are so handy to have in on those days where you just need to relax and only wine will do and as there are four wines available in the range, you are sure to find one that is just right for you (they are all also vegan so no one has to miss out). The one I tried and knew would be great for me was the Super Sparkling White but they also do a Super Sparkling Rose and these are priced at £10.99 each. If you're not a prosecco fan then maybe Really Red or Crisp White could be for you, both of which are £8.99 a bottle. 
slimline wine
I've been so impressed with Slimline Wine and wouldn't hesitate to order from them in future, I have my eyes on the sparkling rose next! This really was a brilliant addition to our Valentines and went so well with the meal we had planned. If you would like to try it out for yourself, you can buy online via their website, and here you'll also find more about the brand and you can read rave reviews from people just as impressed as me!

What do you think to zero calorie wines? Would you ever try something like this?

*Product sent for the purpose of this post. I only work with brands relevant to me and my blog

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Friday, 23 February 2018

Food I Have Been Loving This Week #25

I don't know what's wrong with me at the moment but I actually can't stop thinking about food! I've been really enjoying making some new meals which I'm now desperate to make again, and some old favourites which have already been mentioned on my blog many times but I can't help but include them again.
food
Krispy Kreme - We very rarely have Krispy Kreme Doughnuts but a few weeks ago we had a few offers to use so we picked a some up and they were so delicious! I went for one of the Valentines ones which was the Raspberry Chocolate Heart. It was filled with a chocolate truffle kreme and it was heaven.

Smarties Orange Eggs - I love Easter chocolate. As soon as I saw these, I had to get them. I love any sort of orange chocolate so I knew I would like these and they're actually not too sharp or strong which is nice. The orange flavouring is actually quite subtle and not too over the top. They were £1 a think and I'm definitely going to be getting more while I can.

Homemade Chilli - I'm pretty sure I mentioned this in my last one of these posts or if not, it wasn't too long ago but I'm loving making chilli at the moment. It's always been one of my favourite meals but each time it just seems to get better and better! It's one of my go to meals when I'm planning the food shop as it's so easy and I know it's one we'll always enjoy.

Quorn Sausage Patties - I've been really enjoying making my own sort of McDonalds breakfast with these Quorn Sausage Patties recently. I'm such a big fan of Quorn products, especially these and their chicken nuggets which genuinely taste like the real thing! I don't think you can tell at all that these aren't meat and they're so filling. We've been having these in a muffin with bacon, egg and a cheese slice and it's been like our own little McDonalds for much less money.

Mr Kipling Valentines - Last year Mr Kipling rebranded some of their products for Valentines and I was so pleased to see they'd done it again this year. I'm such a sucker for things like this, I'm exactly the type of person who falls for these things even though the product is never actually any different. I picked up some of the Pink Fancies for £1 and got through them so quickly, the cake is just the softest thing. We also had some of the Valentines Whirls aswell which were a cheesecake and strawberry jam flavour, they were so good!

Homemade Cornish Pasties - I had been wanting to make my own Cornish Pasties for literally years and last month I finally did! I remember years ago we had homemade ones at Georges and we'd always said since we have to try and make our own but we just never got round to it, and really I never expected ours to turn out quite so well. After finding a simple recipe online, George and I made them together and they went so well! I couldn't believe how they turned out. The pastry was beautiful and the filling was so tasty, and together with mash, they were the perfect winter meal! I just about managed one as they were so filling but that meant we had some leftover for lunch the next day, winner. I can't wait to make these again!

All The Rice - I'm actually a little bit addicted to rice at the moment. I've always been all about the carbs but for the last few weeks now I've just wanted rice with as many meals as possible. I've been picking up pouches of Tilda rice as they do some really nice flavours and these have been brilliant for lunches. I like to have them with halloumi or sometimes things like Quorn Nuggets and it leaves me full for ages. Things like this are so good to have in when I'm not sure what to have or if we don't have much planned to go with a meal.

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Thursday, 22 February 2018

Gemporia Ombre Birthstone Candle Review*

If you were to ask me for one thing that I'm obsessed with buying, it would always be candles! I just can't help myself. Obviously the scent is the main thing and I love a huge range from sweet to floral and even baked goods, but I also like them to look pretty, so this beautiful candle from Gemporia is a winner on both parts! As my birthday was in January, I was sent one of their Ombre Birthstone Candles and I have absolutely loved using it over the last month.
Gemporia Garnet Candle
Gemporia were a relatively new brand to me but I was really impressed at the range of products available and how gorgeous they all were. Gemporia offer the very best in stylish, affordable and responsibly made genuine gemstone jewellery so they are a brilliant brand to consider for any birthdays coming up for that extra special present. Gemporia believe that jewellery shouldn't be over the top expensive but it should be something that each person who makes it and wears it appreciates. In all of the products available at Gemporia, only genuine gemstones are used and precious metals meaning everything is original and ethical. 

As soon as I unwrapped the parcel I loved just the packaging of the candle alone! It comes in a white and purple box and it looks so sleek and elegant. I think the simple added touch of the box makes it such a great idea for a gift as it seems like so much thought has gone into making it special. I then discovered the beautiful Garnet Birthstone Candle inside and I couldn't believe how stunning it was. The ombre red is so unique and totally different to any other candles I currently have or have had in the past. I knew straight away that this could go in our living room as that has hints of red and it really does go perfectly. I didn't actually know much about my birthstone so it was nice to find out a bit more about it through Gemporia. 

'Garnet Legends and folklore place Garnet among the most ancient of talismans. Not only was it prized as an ornamental jewel, but its strong curative powers and protective energies made it invaluable.'
What I love about this candle that makes it different to the others I currently have placed around the flat is that it's only made from eco friendly products including natural oils and 100% soy wax. This gives it a very clean burn which is important as I hate it when you burn a candle and it starts to go black around the glass ruining the whole look! Something else I really like about this candle in particular is the 6 carats of Garnet which are fused into the top layer of the wax which is infused with a Fressia fragrance. As the wax melts, the gemstones start to gently float in it and you can see it happening which I actually find quite calming to watch! I'd not seen anything like it before and it's just something else that adds to the uniqueness of the candle. Though the scent isn't the strongest, the longer it burns the more intense it gets. I tend to leave this burning for a few hours in the evening and it does eventually start to fill the room, it's not an instant hit of fragrance but that's really only a small downside. It's still a lovely scent and the look of it makes up for that I think. If you're also a January baby like me, this is currently on offer for just £14.99 on the Gemporia website.
Gemporia Garnet Candle
If your birthday is coming up and you want to treat yourself, it's definitely worth having a look at what products are available for your birthstone, and if any friends or family are celebrating a birthday soon, something from their birthday month would be such a thoughtful gift! They really do have some beautiful pieces from the more high end side to more affordable gifts, so something for everyone. If you would like to find your own birthstone or just want to see what other products are available, you can find lots of information on their website. You can also find them on Instagram and Twitter!

*Product sent for the purpose of this post. I only work with brands relevant to me and my blog

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Wednesday, 21 February 2018

York - Why It's Somewhere I'd Love To Visit This Year...

Though a holiday abroad would be lovely this year, and I'm sure will happen at some point, I do have some places on my list in the UK that I would love to visit. I've mentioned quite a few times on my blog that I love a weekend away, no matter where it is, that time for George and I to get away from life for a little bit is so special and I'm determined to find more time for it this year. The place in the UK that is currently at the top of my list is York and there are a number of reasons why so I'm really hoping we get to book a trip there soon.
York
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York Minster - Probably the thing York is most famous for so somewhere we have to go to. It looks absolutely beautiful and I can totally see why it's such a must. When I was younger I'm sure I'd have found something like this boring but now I'd really love to visit it.

The Shambles - This is something that has always drawn me to York because it just looks so beautiful and I love the medieval feel of it. It reminds me a lot of Harry Potter actually! It's known now for little quirky shops and cafes so I'd love to make a visit, I think it's kind of a must if you go to York. I love discovering new independant shops and things like that so this is definitely my sort of place.
The Shambles
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York City Walls - Apparently a visit to York isn't complete without a walk around the City Walls. The preserved walls are the longest medieval town walls in England and you can enjoy some amazing views from them. It seems like the perfect way to explore the city and as we've never been before I think it would be a great thing to do on our first day.

York's Chocolate Story - We're both chocolate fiends so when I saw there was a place dedicated to it in York, that only made me want to go even more. This is a tour that takes you through the history of York's most famous chocolate making families and their creations, and you even get to have a go at making some yourself which sounds exciting! I've never done anything like this before so I think it would be something a bit different.

York Designer Outlet - I love a bit of shopping and even though I'm not about designer stuff at all, I would love to make a visit to York Designer Outlet. Looking on the website, there are loads of exciting shops which I've not been too before and I love a bargain. It looks like there are some good homeware stores aswell which is fab because homeware shopping is one of my favourites! There are also some great foodie shops too like the Cadbury store and Lindt store - heaven!

Beautiful Hotels - I've found some really stunning hotels when looking at a weekend away in York. As we're hoping for a few days there before anywhere else this year, we're calling it a little 'minimoon' as we didn't get chance to go anywhere around the time we got married so it would be nice to stay somewhere a bit more fancy than we usually do. At the moment the one I'm leaning towards is The Grand Hotel and Spa which looks like the ultimate place to stay.

Recommended Restaurants - I've seen some really lovely restaurants recommended online that we don't get in Sheffield which I would love to pay a visit to. One that I really like the look of is the Cosy Club. After seeing Chloes review a while ago, I added it to my list because it's just looks like our sort of place. It looks different to anywhere we've been before for a date night and there is some really delicious food on the menu including Tapas which is one of my favourites. They also do a pudding sharing plate which is definitely something we'd have to get. I'd also love to go to Bettys Tea Room for a slice of cake! I featured some of their chocolate in a Christmas gift guide and ever since I've been desperate to go to one of their cafes. Finally Crumbs Cupcakery would be a must, I love the look of their delicious cupcakes.

I'd love to know if you've been to York before and if you have any recommendations! These are the things I've seen online and know of but I'm definitely open to more ideas if you have any. Hopefully we can get something booked soon as everything about it looks wonderful and I'm desperate for a weekend away at the moment.


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Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Lavera Skincare Review*

A few months ago I was sent a few products to try out from Skincare brand Lavera so now I've been testing them for a while and have been able to get a real feel for them, I thought it was about time for my review.
lavera
 Lavera have manufactured all natural skincare and cosmetics for over 25 years now, all to the highest quality standards. Their wide range of products all contain herbal ingredients, organic where possible, and they are all formulated without synthetic preservatives, colours or fragrances. This means they are effective but gentle on skin so great for those who suffer with sensitive skin and have to be careful which products they use. As they're so gentle on the skin they are great for all of the family to enjoy, and for the environment which is so important. The two products I was sent to try out was the Refreshing Body Wash and Body Lotion, both of which I couldn't wait to use.

Refreshing Body Wash Organic Lime and Verbena - First of all this has the most refreshing scent! Lime is one of my favourites in a shower gel as it's such a zingy fragrance and it always wakes me up in a morning shower. This Lavera Body Wash gently cleanses your skin with mild and natural surfactants which leave you feeling fresh and ready to go. This has been brilliant to use as it's really made me feel so clean and refreshed, and because the organic limes provide moisture, it's left my skin feeling nourished and soft after using. A little bit goes a long way so the 200ml bottle is more than enough to last you a while. The scent of this body wash also lasts for hours on the skin, or so I've found, which is a bonus as now I just smell like limes! This is currently £6.45 online.
lavera
 Refreshing Body Lotion Organic Lime and Verbena - Body Lotion isn't something I tend to use too often, I usually just stick to my shower gels so I was really excited to try this. The Lavera Body Lotion has extracts of fruity organic lime and organic verbena which leaves your skin feeling soft and supple. It's really easy to apply to dry skin and it soaks in well. The reason I don't tend to use body lotions or moisturisers is because I find a lot of them are quite sticky and I can feel them on my skin whereas with this it absorbed quickly and just left me with super soft skin. Just like the body wash, the tangy scent of lime was so refreshing, and only a small amount is needed so the bottle lasts such a good amount of time. This is currently £8.45.
lavera
Both of these products have been great to use and have honestly left my skin in such good condition after using. It makes my skin so soft to touch and I generally just feel so fresh afterwards. The lotion is brilliant for using after showering and it really is no fuss as it soaks in so well and as I've mentioned numerous times in this post, the scent is the best! If this scent isn't for you, there are many other products to choose from on the Lavera website. I highly recommend having a look if you're looking for some new organic skincare products to try.
lavera
Have you ever tried anything from Lavera before?

*Products sent for the purpose of this post, I only work with brands relevant to me and my blog

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Monday, 19 February 2018

Simple Victoria Sponge Recipe...

For Georges birthday this year I really wanted to make a cake myself as I definitely don't bake as often as I used to, and homemade cakes are always better than shop bought I think. The first time I made a Victoria Sponge cake was about 4 years ago and it was a bit of a disaster so even though it should have been one of the easiest cakes to make, that kind of put me off making it again. Though my first attempt ages ago didn't go too well I decided to give it another go for Georges birthday, and luckily it went well! I followed a Jo Wheatley recipe and just changed the filling and it really did taste delicious.
Victoria Sponge
Ingredients: Cake
225g margarine
225g caster sugar
225g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp of vanilla essence
4 eggs, beaten
1 egg yolk

Ingredients: Filling
150g of double cream
3 tbsp Strawberry Jam

Method:
1. Pre-heat your oven to 170 degrees and grease and line two cake tins 
2. In a mixing bowl, add in your margarine, sugar, self raising flour, baking powder, vanilla essence, eggs and 1 egg yolk and beat with an electric whisk. I whisked it for about 2 minutes until it was nice and smooth. If you don't have an electric whisk, add in the ingredients one by one and mix well with a wooden spoon
3. When mixed well, pour evenly into the two cake tins and bake for 30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean, leave to cool on a wire rack.
4. When cool, whisk up the double cream for about 2 minutes with an electric whisk and spread over one of the cakes. Add 3 tbsp of jam to the other cake, spread well then sandwich the two cakes together
5. Finally dust the cake with icing sugar and slice

TOP TIP - When leaving the cakes to cool on a wire rack, add a slice of bread to the top of each cake. This stops the cake from going dry while cooling, and instead hardens the bread. When cakes have cooled, remove the bread and you should have a delicous, moist cake.
Victoria Sponge
Victoria Sponge
This is probably one of the easiest cakes I've ever made so it will definitely be one I bake again and again now. I'm so used to making chocolate cake and brownies etc, so this was a very nice change!


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Sunday, 18 February 2018

Laser Hair Removal Treatment With Pulse Light Clinic*

I have an extra blog post this week all about Pulse Light Clinic. I've mentioned them a few times on my blog in the past as they do a variety of different treatments and this time I wanted to talk about their Laser Hair Removal Treatment.

Laser hair removal is the deliberate removal of body hair and it's done using the technology of laser. Hair grows differently for different people so while there might be some of us that have fine hair that is barely noticeable, there are others who are blessed with thicker and darker hair. I know myself how hard dark hair is to completely get rid off, especially if it's in unwanted places or in excessive amounts, so sometimes laser hair removal is an option worth considering to sort it once and for all.

The way laser hair removal works is that it targets the hair follicle with laser light and this destroys it, therefore stopping it from producing further hairs. This process is called photothermolysis and that means the laser only targets the hair (in large amounts at a time) and it ensures surrounding tissue remains unaffected. Compared to a process called electrolysis which works by targeting each individual hair follicle, the service Pulse Light Clinic offer is not only less painful but also less time consuming. After a treatment, dead hair needs to come through the skin and this will shed after a few weeks, and even though it may take a few treatments to ensure different hair follicles have been targeted, there are many benefits to the process. It leaves you with smoother skin that no longer requires shaving or waxing, it causes less irritation, ensures a reduction of ingrown hairs, reduces excessive hair growth and many other things too. The video below has lots more details on the process if you wish to know more!
If you've been thinking about Laser Hair Removal for a while you can find Pulse Light Clinic at their Liverpool Street Clinic in London and their contact details are - info@pulselightclinic.co.uk and 02075938055. You can also find out more information on their website!

*Sponsored post in collaboration with Pulse Light Clinic

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Saturday, 17 February 2018

Where I Find Affordable Blog Props On A Budget...

It's taken me a long time to be happy with my blog photos, and even though I know I'm not the queen of flatlays, I've dramatically improved since I first started and I think that's all down to different props and backgrounds. Over the last year in particular I've really got into the photography side of blogging and I now love picking up new bits to add to my photos, and all of them are on the cheaper side! Blog props don't have to be expensive and if you shop around you can find some fab bits, so I thought I'd share some of my favourite affordable extras and let you know where I found them!
blog props on a budget
Trinket Dishes & Candles - Small trinket dishes are always a winner when it comes to photos. They just fill a space and are great to grab when you're stuck. I have a few different ones which I tend to use quite a lot, these being a pineapple dish that I picked up from New Look for about £5 (similar here), a Winnie the Pooh gold dish which was £8 from Clintons and a little white and gold pineapple dish from Wilkinsons which was only about £1.50! You can find a variety of cute trinket dishes for under £10 from all sorts of place and they look great with lots of different products. I love to use the pineapple one with beauty products especially, and it's a staple for photos throughout summer! I also love to add candles to photos. Recently I've been adding my Bath and Body Works dupe to the background whenever there is a space and this is £3.99 from B&M. As the copper lid is so pretty I also sometimes use this in my photos and you would never know what it is! Another candle I love to use and have done for a long time is a copper geometric style holder from the Card Factory which was only £1.99. 
trinket dishes
Fake Flowers - I love love love adding fake flowers to my photos. I find they can just completely change a photo and I can go from absolutely hating what I see to loving it. I have a few different ones I like to rotate, some fake peonies from Ebay which were around £3.50 at the time, some white carnations from IKEA which were 40p each, a pink orchard stem which was £1.25 from Wilkinsons and also some dried rose petals which I got in my Asda food shop for £1.50 and they are my current favourite to add to photos. Artificial flowers really don't have to be expensive and when you shop around you can find some beautiful ones. Something else I like to use in Autumn is fake maple leaves which I found on Amazon last year. They were for £1.99 for 100 and they were perfect for the last few months of 2017! I don't tend to stick to themes on Instagram but I do like to add little extras in to reflect the season when I can.
beauty flatlay
Cheap Wrapping Paper - As you can see from the photo above and the one below, I love to use wrapping paper as a prop. I only have one white background in this whole flat which is suitable for photos but I don't always like to stick with that so wrapping paper has been a great find! Whenever I buy any, I cut a large rectangular piece off and just keep with the rest of my blog props. I currently have quite a few so when I need to, I have a few to choose from. The one in the photo above was from Asda and was £2, and the one in the photo below was from Paperchase which if I remember correctly was around £1.50 for a sheet. I currently have my eye on this Gold Wood Grain one but they have loads to choose from instore. Wallpaper samples are also brilliant and you can get these totally free! I recently ordered a few from Next and delivery was also free but you can find many in stores like B&M and B&Q.
evening routine
Blankets & Fabrics - One of the first things I started to use when taking blog photos was any blankets I could find! I've got quite a chunky fluffy one which I've used multiple times in photos and I've also got a lighter winter themed one which I love to use around Christmas time. These are things I had anyway so didn't cost me anything but you can find things like this in Primark for around £5. I also like to use other bits of fabric I can find and a favourite of mine is a thin scarf. I like how this looks in the corner of photos and it's so simple but adds a nice bit of texture and colour. Lastly in Winter I love to use a tartan pillowcase I have. Random I know but I didn't have a red tartan scarf which I thought would be perfect for Christmas themed photos and then I noticed the bedding in the spare room! There's no harm in getting inventive and using things you might not usually think of.
wedding makeup
Stationery & Magazines - I love using a magazine as a backdrop to my photos. I find they're great for placing beauty products on or for placing to the side as an extra just to change up the white background. I've got a few different £1 Glamour and Cosmopolitan magazines which I flick through every so often and I try to find a page relevant to the products I'm wanting to photograph. Aswell as magazines, I also love to use notebooks. You can buy really cheap ones from places like Home Bargains and Wilkinsons and they're really, really pretty! I have few pastel pinks one which I like to use and I love how they look in flatlays.
beauty
Makeup - Though with a lot of my photos, makeup is the main focus, I also like to add little beauty items when I'm photographing other things. If I'm struggling with ideas and don't know how to fill the space I'll just add a few nail polishes, bits of jewellery and lipstick. These are things I have in my makeup bag anyway so cost no extra and they're fab to just grab when you're in a bit of a rut!
winnie the pooh
Ribbons & Fairy Lights - The last few bits I have in my props basket which I like to use to finish any photos is ribbon and fairy lights. I picked up some gold glittery ribbon from Hobbycraft for £1 around Christmas and now I tend to use it in most photos. I find they photograph quite well and just cover any little spaces. Fairy lights are also great especially to drape over any products and I find it instantly changes the photo up. I currently use some from Primark which were £2.50 and as they're copper wire they go really well with other props I tend to use and they're easy to position exactly how you want.
nails inc
I had no intention of this post being so long but I just had so many things I wanted to share! It really is worth shopping around for extras for your photos as you can find some real gems. Places like B&M, Primark and Ebay are always a winner and brilliant for a bargain. Though aswell as that, it's always worth having a look around your home and finding some bits to include as I mentioned above, you can honestly create some beautiful photos at no extra cost at all!

Where do you tend to find your blog props?


*Affiliate links used in this post

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Friday, 16 February 2018

3 Money Saving & Budgeting Tips*

I've written quite a few money saving blog posts over the last year or so, because who doesn't want to have a little bit of spare money at the end of the month? I've mentioned things like survey sites, buying value items and reward cards before, but recently I've started using a few different apps which I had to recommend and I've also found some other gems online which I think could be really useful for some people. I think no matter how much you earn, it's always nice to be able to save where you can and find ways to make life a little bit easier.
Money Saving Apps - Recently I downloaded 2 different money saving apps which have been brilliant for vouchers and freebies. The first one is Shopmium which has new offers each week, some are for completely free products, and others have money off. The app is really simple to use, just pick up the product in store which takes your fancy, scan the product and the receipt once your home and then they'll reimburse you. My first offer when I signed up was a free bar of Cadbury for £1.50, within a few days of scanning my receipt I had the money back in my account! At the moment if you sign up with my code you can get yourself a free jar of Nutella! It's well worth doing and my referral code is 6WY46. Another app I've recently downloaded is Shoppix. All you have to do with this is scan your receipt every time you shop, you'll get tokens and eventually you can convert these to cash or vouchers! It really is as simple as that and it's brilliant for any little top up shops you do as you can really get something for nothing. For an extra 200 points you can sign up with my referral code CLPPLIXU. With this app you also get surveys each week to complete which give you more points.
shopmium
Payday Loans - Before applying for a payday loan you really need to be sure that you can pay the money back, and if you can and you're in urgent need of cash, then it might not be such a bad idea. I wanted to mention this as though it's preferred to have money set aside for any emergencies, that isn't always the case. There are many payday loan companies out there now but the one I wanted to mention in this post is Cash Lady. They are a well-established and reputable business who really care about all of their customers. When considering taking out a loan it's important you are well informed and are clear about what you are signing up for. Cash Lady are always honest and transparent when advising on payday loans and they are always working to get the best outcome for you. You can find heaps on helpful information on their website and also as there is no charge for making an application, there is definitely no harm in getting in touch and chatting with someone to find out more and get the best advice before going ahead. As payday loans can help with your finance on a short term basis, they are a great backup plan if something goes wrong with your paycheck or if something breaks unexpectedly. As long as you have money coming in and can cover the cost of repaying then it's worth considering for the future.
cash lady
Check Your Budget - It's really important if you're wanting to save money or cut back that you budget each month and know exactly what is coming in and going out. It's easy if you're struggling to act as if it isn't happening and ignore it but that only makes things worse. Sit down and make a list, and go through what could be done. You might find you're paying for things and not actually using them, Netlflix? Well if you're not getting much use out of it, cancel it and you've saved yourself almost £10 there. The same goes for things like Gym memberships. If you're not going, cancel and use that money for something else! Only by budgeting will you find things like this and you might surprise yourself and find many ways you can save yourself some money. Aswell as making sure you budget each month, it's also worth checking out some freebie sites for any little extras. I literally just Google free stuff sometimes and so many sites come up, and you can get yourself free bits of food, samples of laundry bits, and loads more. It's always worth having a browse each week.

There are so many websites and apps out there now which help you budget and save money but these are the 3 things I really wanted to talk about as I think they're all useful for different people in different situations. I'm always looking for new ways to save so let me know if you have any other tips or if you've used any of these too!

Similar Posts - How I Budget // Saving Money On Your Food Shopping

*Sponsored post in collaboration with Cash Lady. I only work with brands relevant to me and my blog

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Thursday, 15 February 2018

Crafted By Cracker Drinks Review*

I'm always on the lookout for new drinks to try, whether that's juice, teas or fizzy pop, I just love discovering new brands and new flavours. One of my favourite things at the weekend is breakfast in bed with some warm croissants and an ice cold glass of juice, so these few drinks from Crafted Drinks that I was sent recently have been perfect!
crafted drinks
I'd seen Crafted Drinks online a few times and I instantly knew they were something I had to try at some point. Crafted Drinks which are created by the team at Cracker Drinks Co contain exciting combinations of fruit and the highest quality ingredients which make a perfect refreshing treat. All of the flavours which are blended with water aren't filled with added sugars or sweeteners and actually these drinks contain 30% less sugar than 100% apple juice! They are also 1 of your 5 a day which I was very pleased to find that out because fruit juice is one of my absolute favourites but definitely not the best thing in the world for you. Knowing that that you can have fruit juice which isn't actually that bad for you, makes me very happy!

There are four flavours available to buy which I'll go through:

Mango and Passionfruit - The perfect mix of sweet and tangy. This has a beautiful taste of mango first and then a strong hint of passionfruit and together they are the perfect combination. Mango and passionfruit has been a favourite of mine for ages and it always makes me think of summer and fresh smoothies! This was the first flavour I tried and it was everything I hoped. So fruity and refreshing and one I'll definitely be picking up in future.

Still Cloudy Lemonade - Fizzy cloudy lemonade is something I very rarely have but always enjoy so I was really excited to try this. Cloudy lemonade makes me think of warm days sat out in the garden with a BBQ, and this still version is perfect for that. It's not too sharp but has a nice refreshing zingy taste to it and the texture of it is really nice and smooth. I'm saying it now, this was my favourite out of all the ones I was sent and one I will be picking up very soon from the supermarket.
crafted drinks
Pineapple, Coconut & Lime - The thing I really love about Crafted Drinks is their range of flavour combinations and adding coconut and lime to pineapple was the perfect mix. Out of all of them this was the one that really reminded me of cocktails, it's a brilliant non-alcoholic alternative to a pina colada but just as tasty. I did find the coconut flavour quite strong which was a little odd at first but the pineapple comes through the more you drink and of course the hint of lime is a nice addition.

Apple, Mint & Lime - This is another flavour which reminded me of cocktails. I could totally imagine this in a decorative glass full of ice on a hot summers day. Apple juice is my all time favourite and something I get quite reguarly so I was really intrigued by this. I love the addition of lime to it as it just adds something a little bit different and gives it a nice tangy hit. The mint was also a refreshing addition and definitely went well with the other flavours.
crafted drinks
crafted drinks
As I tend to stick to just plain apple or orange juice, it's been so nice to try out all of these delicious flavour combinations and find some new favourites. Out of them all the Cloudy Lemonade was definitely top for me but the Mango and Passionfruit came a close second. I just found both of these so enjoyable and I could honestly go through glass after glass of them. Though I loved the first two, my partner George actually really enjoyed the latter two much more so that shows there is a flavour each person is sure to enjoy. Though the flavours are the main thing, I did just want to quickly mention the packaging because I think it's so eye catching. It's really different to other plain cartons of juice you find now and I know if I saw this in a shop I would be instantly drawn to it.
crafted drinks
 I wouldn't hesitate to pick these up again in future and as I've already said, I've already found the Cloudy Lemonade online at Asda so that will be getting added to my shopping basket very soon. If you would like to pick some of these up for yourself, they can be found in Sainsburys, Asda and Waitrose or you can find out more on their website here! I highly recommend you give them a try, especially in the warmer months of the year for any BBQ's or parties you may plan!

Have you ever tried Crafted Juice Drinks before?

*Products sent for the purpose of this post. I only work with brands relevant to me and my blog

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Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Jens Sweet Shop Subscription Box Review*

Subscription boxes are all the rage now. As I mentioned in one of my Valentines Gift Guides, you can find a variety now from beauty to healthy snacks to American goodies and now even sweets and chocolate which pleases me very much. I was recently sent a sweet box to try from the lovely people at Jen's Sweet Shop and I have thoroughly enjoyed going through everything!
jens sweet shop
Jen's Sweet Shop is a proper traditional sweet shop, both online and offline. They started over 8 years ago in a small indoor market but they now have a fully fledged shop and also stock lots of sweet favourites online. You can buy any sweets you want in either 200g bags, small jars or large jars or you can order a subscription box which is the thing I was lucky enough to try out. There are 3 subscription boxes available, the Ultimate Mystery Box which contains a mix up and 2 lollies, the Perfect Pick n Mix Up which contains a range of gummy, fizzy and jelly sweets aswell as lollies, and finally the Tasty Traditional Mixup which includes a mix up of lots of old favourites.

The box I was sent I was very impressed with as it had some of my favourites! There was Assorted Toffee, Fizzy Chips, Snowies, Jelly Snakes and 2 lollies.
jens sweet shop
jens sweet shop
Within a few hours I had got through the Fizzy Fries, they were so moreish! Something I very rarely have so they were really nice to see in the box. The Assorted Toffees were an excellent addition too. I love the mix of Milk Chocolate, Plain Toffee and Chocolate Eclairs, the English Creamy Toffee was my absolute favourite, I'm going to have to get more of those in future. I also really enoyed the Jelly Snakes and my partner George loved the Snowies. I'm not a massive fan of white chocolate so I just had a few of these but he got through them very quickly. Overall the mix included was brilliant and it was nice to have lots of different choice, including the lollies as that's something I never ever buy.
jens sweet shop
The thing I really like about subscription boxes like this is that you really have no idea what you'll get each time. As there are over 400 different sweets available at Jen's Sweet Shop, you can't possibly predict it! Aswell as obviously loving the selection of sweets and the taste, I was also really impressed with how everything was packaged. Each selection of sweets were packaged individually and the box itself was ideal for fitting through the letterbox. This means that no problems with delivery should happen and it doesn't matter whether you're in or not when the box arrives. The 3 subscription boxes available are currently £5.95 but if you enter the code FIRSTBOX at checkout you can get the first box for just £3.95. It's also your choice whether you get the box every 2 weeks or 4 weeks, it depends how much of a sweet tooth you have 😉
jens sweet shop
If you would like to try out Jen's Sweet Shop or want to see the huge range of sweets available then make sure you check out their website for lots more information. I highly recommend them for a little treat to your self each month!

Have you ever tried a sweet subscription box before?

*Box sent for the purpose of this post. I only work with brands relevant to me and my blog

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