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Monday, 30 April 2018

3 Of My Spring Essentials

When it comes to Spring there are a few things which have become essentials for me over the last few years. From delicious smelling products to beautiful colours, I really wanted to share the products that are a staple for me once it's starts getting warm and sunny!
Spring Essentials

Fruity Scents

I don't think there is a more perfect scent for Spring (and summer) than peach. I am obsessed with anything peach scented so the range from the body shop is one I always go back to. I'm currently using the peach body butter, and not only does it smell lush, it's also soaks into the skin really well and makes me feel all soft and fresh. To be honest most body shop ranges are perfect for the warmer months, they just scream holidays to me! I actually picked up this tangle teaser a while ago from Selfridges whilst we were in London and that also smells of peaches too. I wondered how long the scent would stay once I started using it but almost a year on, it's exactly the same. You can't go wrong with a tangle teaser and if you have a holiday abroad planned, you need one! They are brilliant for brushing through wet and tangly hair.

Bright Colours

In the Autumn and Winter I love nothing more than a red, plum or black nail polish but in Spring and Summer I'm all about the bright colours and pastels. I think the orange and turquoise shades go so well with a tan and are perfect for a holiday, and the pastel colours are just so pretty. I have quite a few Spring shades including Dragon Fruit, Flamingo, Bikini and Sugar Apple from Barry M. From Essie some of my faves are Tart Deco, Status Symbol and Eternal Optimist. Aswell as nails I also love to bring a bit of colour into my wardrobe. I tend to stick to darker colours most of the time as I just find that's what flatters me most but I do have a few more colourful bits in my wardrobe I like to bring out in Spring. I'm loving yellow and florals at the moment, both I think go so well with many things so I'm hoping to get a few nice bits soon.

Travel Minis

I love having little minis in the warmer months as they are great for taking out with me in my bag. I love Soap and Glorys Hand Food which soaks in really well and doesn't make your hands feel dry or sticky, and I really like their Scrub Of Your Life too. I love to use the scrub after I've been out as in Summer and a refreshing shower with it is lovely. I feel like I scrub all of the dirt from the day away, and as it has such a sweet scent, I'm left smelling pretty good too. Another mini I like to use and have with me on the go is The Body Shop Peppermint Cooling Foot Spray. I mentioned this in my latest body shop haul and the reason I love it so much is because I really suffer with my feet and this just works wonders. This is so handy to just spray on whenever your feet are feeling a bit sore (so great for days where you're out or on holiday) and it instantly calms and cools them down. It's just fab. Finally I also really like to carry round mini hand sanitizers too. When you're out and about your hands get covered in so much bacteria without you realising so this is great to just pull out of your bag.

Are you a fan of Spring? Are any of these essentials for you too?

Similar Post - 3 Things I Like About Spring

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Friday, 27 April 2018

A Little Life Update

I thought the perfect post today would be a little life update as it's been a long time since I last did one on my blog. That's mainly because there has never been too much to share to be honest, not that there's a massive amount now but I just felt the urge to write a little blog post with a few things that have happened over the last few months and a few things we have planned for this year.
A Little Life Update

Going Self Employed

The biggest thing over the last few months or so is that I've officially gone self employed with my blog! Though I've been treating this as job for quite a while, it's only recently I realised I should technically be registered as self employed and make it official, I'd just been putting it off before. Now it's all sorted and I feel kind of proud that I've took this step with it. Though I've been working hard to earn money from this for a while, now this is officially being classed as my full time job I suppose it's only spurred me on even more to make something of it. I'm really happy that I've still been able to keep up with 5 posts a week the majority of the time, and I love the variety of things I've been writing about recently. I've got a long, long way to go and some months are definitely better than others but I'm really happy with the direction my blog is going in at the moment and how I've been doing with it. I'm not going to lie, it was a bit of a hassle sorting it all out but it was worth it (and kind of legal) so if you've been putting it off for a while, it's so much better to just get it over and done with. 

Holidays

For the first time kind of ever, we actually have a few holidays planned for this year and I am incredibly excited. We recently went to York for 2 nights which was dreamy. It was a beautiful city and I'd go back in a heartbeat. Next up we have our honeymoon in a few weeks. We finally decided on Paris after being torn between a few options but I think it's the perfect choice. We're going to eat all the croissants we can, do as much sightseeing as possible and hopefully just have an amazing honeymoon. I don't think you can get much more of a romantic place than Paris so hopefully it will exceed any expectations. Aswell as Paris we also have a night in London booked for the week after we get back. We're going to see Kinky Boots which I'm incredibly excited for, I've been wanting to see another west end show ever since we first went to see Wicked. There were so many to choose from but Kinky Boots is more much reasonably priced and it looks like such a feel good show. I'm obsessed with the soundtrack at the moment! Aswell as seeing a show, I just can't wait to be back there seeing all of our favourite places and taking it all in.

Anxiety

I mentioned in a post towards the end of 2017 that I'd finally taken the plunge and started medication for my anxiety which at first worked wonders. I just felt so much calmer and like my head was much clearer, but I'd say once the side effects wore off, so did everything else so I'm kind of back at square one again. One medication that works for one person might not work for another so I just need to find what works for me. I'd definitely say I have up and down days, but I always have and the tablets certainly didn't have a drastic effect. I think having some plans and having stuff to really look forward has really helped actually and sort of made me stay positive. I also think I'm finally getting somewhere with starting councelling too, unfortunately private is the only option as I wasn't getting anywhere any other way, but it will totally be worth it. At the moment some days I can go all day feeling totally fine, have no anxious thoughts, no constant checking for anything that could be wrong with me (health anxiety has been extreme recently) but then others I really struggle. When I'm having a bad day, I just try to take extra care of myself, and if I have a day where I don't accomplish much or venture far out of bed, it doesn't matter. Some days are just better than others but I'm working on it.

Home

I've had mixed feelings about the flat recently. The majority of the time I absolutely love it and will be so happy with what we've done to it and others I just feel like completely changing everything! I do feel like every year it becomes more and more like 'ours' though. It isn't officially but we're pretty free to do what we like to it so I think we've reached a point where we've put our own stamp on it, as much as we can really. A few extra touches have been added to the living room and the bedroom, the spare room is FINALLY becoming an office and should be done soon, and we have plans for the bathroom so I feel like it's all coming together. The spare room has been a work in progress since we moved in, but now we've decided on a desk, we've pretty much bought everything else needed and I just think it's going to be such a good little work space for both of us. When we first moved in I struggled massively and wanted to move out within a few days, it just didn't feel right and I didn't think it ever would but now it's properly our home and whenever we move again, I think it will be very hard to say goodbye to it and the home we've made. That's a few years away yet still I think but hopefully this is the year things start to fall into place in lots of different ways.

Have you got any holidays planned this year? or if you have any tips on Paris, please let me know!

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Thursday, 26 April 2018

Old English Company Enamel Pin Collection & How You Can Win Your Own*

Todays post is a little bit different to usual as it's all about company that have been pretty much all over my social media over the last few weeks. I'm talking about Old English Company who sell a range of quirky products including homeware, stationery and prints. This post is about their new enamel pin collection though and how you can win your own set.

Old English Company sell a range of beautiful pins that are great for changing up a denimn jacket, pencil cases or even your bag and a few of my favourites from the collection are below. I've never really been one to buy pins in the past but at the moment I find myself constantly drawn to them! I definitely think some of these would go so well on my new bag, especially the bear hug pin and the good things pin.
Old English Company
Aswell as the pins I'm loving their prints which contain lots of positive and motivating quotes (something I definitely need to see!) and they also have lots of pretty notebooks and planners which are great for listing your goals each day and planning your week. There is just so much available and for stationery and homeware addicts like me, it's the brand you need to know about. 

Anyway back to the competition! If you want to win your own set of pins then all you need to do is email your favourite enamel pin design from their entire range to hello@oldenglishcompany.com. The competition runs until the 30th of May and you can find more information about the competition here. Good Luck!
Old English Company
Have you ever bought anything from Old English Company before?

*I was provided with a voucher for this post

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Wednesday, 25 April 2018

L'oreal Paris True Match Foundation Review - How It Compares To My Usual Favourite

After sticking with the Rimmel Lasting Finish Foundation for such a long time and running out of probably my millionth bottle, I thought it was about time I finally give another one a go. I'm always torn between sticking with what I know works well for me, or trying something else for a while, and this time after seeing quite a few positive reviews of the L'oreal Paris True Match, I just decided to go for it.
L'oreal Paris True Match Foundation Review!
I ended up ordering this from Amazon as I had a voucher, it was in stock and considerably cheaper than it was on Superdrug. There were so many shades available and the one I went for was Ivory, one of the lighter ones, as that's the shade I am with the Rimmel Lasting Finish so I assumed they'd be pretty similar. The first thing that struck me when I used this was how much thinner the consistency was of the foundation than I expected. Compared to Rimmel foundation, it was much lighter and therefore applied a bit easier. It blended in really well with my Superdrug Beauty Sponge and I got pretty even coverage with it. Though it definitely was a little lighter in terms of colour than I wanted, it did give a really natural finish and covered up any blemishes well which is always important! I think I probably could have done with the shade above but at least now I know for next time and it wasn't something that couldn't be fixed with a bit of bronzer. I did find it made my skin look quite fresh and I somehow felt like I just looked a little bit more alert and awake, if that makes any sense. It just looked right and gave a good base for applying the rest of my makeup. Because of the thinner consistency than I'm used to, I was worried it would be quite light coverage and not really be noticeable but I didn't have to worry about that all. I also found it lasted really well which is a big factor for me. I hate it when I go out loving my makeup and then return home to see it's basically all disappeared so I was pleased that I didn't have that problem with this. The only slight negative I have is that I had a bit of dry skin on my forehead so this clung to it a little, something I've not experienced with other foundations in the past but I think it was only noticeable to me really and not a massive issue.

Overall I'm really impressed with the True Match Foundation and I'm glad I finally gave something else a chance! Though I'm sure I'll go back to my trusty Rimmel Lasting Finish at some point, that is quite a heavy duty product that I can definitely feel sometimes whereas with this I didn't have that problem. It just applied and blended really well and didn't feel like it was sitting on my skin, so that along with the other factors I've mentioned makes it a winner for me and I'm sure I'll buy it again in the future. It's currently £9.99 in Superdrug or you can find it on Amazon like I did for £7.26.

Have you tried the L'oreal Paris True Match Foundation? If so what are your thoughts?


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Tuesday, 24 April 2018

100 Instagram Hashtags I Can't Go Without

I'm sure most bloggers can agree that Instagram has been a massive pain over the last few months. It's seem like no matter what we do, it's almost impossible for our photos to get seen! That's why I think it's so important to make sure you're using the right hashtags, ensuring your photo is seen by as many people as possible. I never really used to know what was right to post for each type of photo so to make things a bit easier for anyone struggling, I've put together a list of different hashtags I try to use in their own categories. I've tried to include as many as possible so hopefully there are some every blogger will find useful!
100 Instagram Hashtags I Can't Go Without

Lifestyle

#photooftheday #flatlay #flatlaystyle #flatlayforever #flatlaynation #viewfromabove #lifestylebloggers #lbloggers #abmhappylife #abmlifeissweet #abmlifeiscolourful #thehappynow #thatsdarling #darlingmovement #darlingweekend #itsabeautifullife #lovelysquares #pursuejoy #pursuehappy #livethelittlemoments #flashesofdelight #thatauthenticfeeling #seekthesimplicity #momentslikethese #girlboss #thevisualcollective #nothingisordinary #homedecor #theeverygirl

Blogging

#instablogger #bloggerstyle #bloggersgetsocial #bloggersofinsta #bloggersuk #bloggingtips #blogginggirls #blogginggals #thegirlgang #instadaily #bloggerstribe #shinyhappybloggers #girlpower #ontheblog #iphoneeography #theblogpack

Beauty

#instabeauty #bbloggers #beautybloggers #beautyaddict #makeupaddict #instanails #nailsofinstagram #nailstagram #instamakeup #makeupobsessed #pursuepretty #prettythings #allthingspink #ihavethisthingwithpink #makeupoftheday #makeuplover #skincarereview

Food

#foodbloggers #fdbloggers #foodie #foodporn #foodgasm #foodblog #instafood #foodlovers #onmytable #foodoftheday #ukrecipe #lovefood #whatiatewednesday #homemade 

Quotes & Motivation

#mondaymotivation #transformationtuesday #thoughtoftheday #qotd #quoteoftheday #pinterestinspired #quotestoliveby 

Travel

#travelbloggers #igtravel #liveauthentic #spring #summer #autumn #winter #beautifulplaces #beautifuldestinations #visualsoflife #traveldiaries #cityscape #darlingescapes #instatravel #adventurealways #wanderlust

I hope if you struggle with what hashtags to include in your insta photos, that this has helped! I actually think it will be useful for me to look back on aswell as sometimes my mind goes blank! Remember when adding these to your post that Instagram don't allow more than 30 hashtags at a time so try not to exceed that.

Have you got any other hashtags you find useful? or any tips for growing your Instagram?

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Monday, 23 April 2018

3 Podcast Recommendations

I've kind of become a little bit obsessed with podcasts so I thought it was about time I did a blog post with a few of my recommendations. I never really understood why so many people did podcasts and loved them so much but when there was nothing on the TV towards the end of last year I decided to randomly listen to a few on the Acast app and months on I'm still finding time each week to listen to a few of my favourites. It's nice to sit and do some blogging with a podcast on in the background but without the distraction of the TV. There is just something about it I find really relaxing and now I find myself looking for new ones to listen to rather than watching yet another episode of Friends which I've seen a thousand times.
3 Of My Podcast Recommendations

At Home With by Lily Pebbles and Anna Gardner

I mentioned this in my August Favourites last year but as it's the first podcast I listened to and loved, it had to be in my recommendations. Lily and Anna are both youtubers and I've enjoyed their videos for years so I was really excited when they revealed they were starting their own podcast. They are currently working on series 2 but the first one involved them going to a different celebrities home each week and just having a chat really. They spoke about interiors, home life and family mainly and it was great to hear more about some people I've seen on TV and in magazines in the past. I just found every episode interesting and it really was lovely to have on in the background, it was almost like I was sat there with them as I've watched them for so long. In series 1 some of the people they featured were, Liz Earle, Jo Elvin, Zoella, Giovanna Fletcher and Madeleine Shaw. I definitely recommend this if you're also a fan of their youtube channels or if you're just into interiors or beauty.
At Home With Podcast

Giovanna Fletcher Happy Mum Happy Baby

I am such a huge fan of the Fletchers so I was thrilled when Giovanna revealed she was starting her own podcast. It's called Happy Mum, Happy Baby and even though I'm not a parent, I still find it so interesting, and I've seen so many people online agree that it's just a great podcast to have on regardless of if you have children or not. It appeals to everyone, and Giovanna comes across as such a kind and friendly person so it's easy to feel comfortable and again it makes you feel like you're there with them. Series 1 started last year and some of her guests included Emma Willis and Rochelle Humes. She's recently come back with a second series and at the moment I've listened to her chat with Davina McCall and Kimberley Walsh about kids, family and work life. 
Happy Mum Happy Baby

Fearne Cotton Happy Place

Fearne was actually one of the guests in the first series of Giovanna's podcast and I thought then that she was really relaxing to listen to and would probably be great with her own podcast. Luckily she's now set up her own called Happy Place! Following on from the success of her books, this podcast involves her chatting to a range of celebs about life, love, loss and mental health, and also about what happiness means to them. I enjoyed this so much I actually managed to listen to 4 episodes in one afternoon whilst blogging and I didn't even think of doing anything else. I loved hearing her chat to all of these different people as she's quite a private person herself so it was nice to find out a bit more about her and her life behind the cameras. Some of the people she has featured so far are, Tom Daley and his husband Dustin Lance Black, Dawn French, Paloma Faith and Matt Haig. She has a great range of differen people so there's kind of something everyone can enjoy and relate to.
Fearne Cotton Happy Place
I'm just absolutely loving podcasts at the moment and couldn't wait to share some of my faves. Are you a fan of podcasts? Have you listened to any of these or have any other recommendations?

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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?

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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

Method:
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.
York
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!
York
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
Source
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

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.

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.

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.
york
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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!
Paris

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.
london
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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