Friday, 28 September 2018

How To Give Your Bathroom A Vintage Makeover*

Not too long ago I shared a little update on how we were getting on with redecorating our bathroom and whilst it's pretty much finished, there are still a few things we're waiting on. After getting rid of the hideous colour that we lived with for nearly 4 years, I now absolutely love how it looks and I've not been able to help myself when it comes to adding in accessories. The final thing we're waiting on is new flooring though which has honestly been a pain for months on end now. Whilst I'd absolutely love our bathroom to end up with a classic vintage look, as we rent our home, we're quite limited with certain things but I already have ideas for our next house. Here are some tips on how to give your bathroom a vintage makeover if you're planning on redecorating in the future.
Tiles and Bathrooms Turquoise tiles

Claw-foot free standing bath

The main thing I think you need to invest in if you want a vintage looking bathroom is a free standing bath. Detached bath tubs go back many years to when indoor plumbing was scarce and now more and more people are opting for one in their bathroom. The claw-foot tubs are classic and elegant meaning they become the focal point of any bathroom. I absolutely love the look of free standing baths like this and I can't wait to have my own one day rather than one that's already built in. A claw-foot bath with old fashioned taps is not only fab for a relaxing and indulgent soak but it also really lasts well and gives an authentic vintage feel to the room.

Victorian tiles

If you're planning a complete makeover for the room then new Victorian bathroom tiles for the walls are a great way of not only adding colour or character but also giving you that classic vintage look. You can replicate Victorian bathrooms by using plain tiles or brick shape tiles in a variety of colours. I personally think for a slight modern twist, the turquoise patterned tiles in the photo at the start of the post are absolutely beautiful and would be so unique. I love the striking design and it would certainly make the bathroom a stand out room in your home.

Antique mirror

My final tip for giving your bathroom a vintage makeover is to add in an antique mirror. I think this is important for a number of reasons. The first one being that a strategically placed mirror can really help open up the room. It also helps with displacement of natural light which for us is vital as we have such a small bathroom and anything that can make it feel a bit bigger is so useful. Another reason is that there was never anything like built in cabinets or mirrors in the past. Placing a large ornate mirror above the sink is a perfect final addition for a real authentic vintage bathroom.

When you move into a new place, it can be easy to just focus on the living room and kitchen at first as that's where you spend the most time and the bathroom can end up being forgotten about. That's what happened with us, which is why it took us years before even attempting anything but it's such an important room so it's well worth spending some time redecorating and making it your own little sanctuary for those much needed pamper evenings!

Before you get into the decor stage of your bathroom, you may need to hire a plumber in Sheffield to check if there's any plumbing issues, and ask for their advice on what you shouldn't touch or remove before you start with the process.

*This post is in collaboration with Tiles & Bathrooms

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Autumn Fashion Tips For The Whole Family*

I'm loving all of the Autumnal blog posts I've not only been reading over the last few weeks, but also that I've been posting myself. As it's my favourite season I've been sharing as much as I can this year, most recently my cosy living room ideas and today now Autumn well and truly here, I wanted to let you in on a few fashion tips for how the whole family can embrace the season.
Outside, view from above of shoes on leaves

Animal Print

In every store you go in at the moment, you'll see animal print, and I am here for it! I've actually had to stop myself from buying more over the last few weeks as there probably is such a thing as too much leopard print in one outfit. I don't think the animal print trend ever really went away but for some reason it's bigger and better than ever this year so whether you want to go all out with a statement coat or just add in subtle hint with a scarf, you're sure to find something suitable. I've personally fallen in love with a pair of leopard print boots from New Look and I'm so excited to wear them this Autumn. For women, I think leopard print particularly completely changes up an outfit and is perfect for taking a casual daytime outfit for work to a dressy evening outfit perfect for a night out.

Layer Up

As we had such a hot Summer this year, I think Autumn and Winter are going to be absolutely freezing and whilst I'm happy and ready for that, we're definitely going to need to wrap up. You don't have to go all Joey from friends and pile clothes upon clothes but throwing on a chunky knit over a thin top or putting on your fave parker coat with a thick scarf is really going to warm you up on a cold day. A trend that's big for men this year is to add in a checked shirt over a t-shirt which not only looks great with a classic pair of jeans and converse but is also a simple way of layering up. When it comes to the little ones in your life, making sure they're wrapped up for the bad weather too is so important. You can find a range of fluffy coats, practical boots and cosy jumpers and accessories in lots of shops so now is definitely the time to get shopping.

Invest in Higher End Clothes

Depending on how much you're wanting to spend, I think a great tip that applies to the whole family is really shopping around and investing in good quality pieces that will not only last you through Autumn but also Winter and many months later. If you spend a bit more, you're likely to be picking up something that is made of higher quality material that will wash better and therefore be perfect for wearing multiple times throughout the colder months. There are some great high street stores out there that offer brilliant quality clothes but sometimes if you can afford it, it pays to look at designer items too. You can shop Moschino kids from designer stores like Strawberry Children so if you want to pick up some gorgeous high end pieces for your children that will see them through the next few months and beyond, they are definitely worth considering.

Dark and Warm Tones

Something else that applies to everyone in the family - opt for darker toned clothes in the Autumn months. Every year the same colours are described as 'autumnal' but that's for a reason. Colours like orange, burgundy, navy and black are all perfect for the later months of the year and make great additions to any outfit. A favourite colour of mine in Autumn is mustard. For women, you could pair a mustard knit jumper with skinny jeans and ankle boots. Also, add in a burnt orange scarf when it gets really cold for the ultimate autumnal outfit.

I love embracing Autumn, whether that's through adding in new pieces to my wardrobe or making our home as cosy as possible, it's just the best. I hope if you're wanting to pick up some new pieces for the season that these tips have given you a few ideas!

*This post is in collaboration with Strawberry Children

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Thursday, 27 September 2018

Haribo Frenzy Starmix and Tangfastics Review*

Whilst Autumn might be here now, that doesn't mean we can't still enjoy some of our Summer food and drink favourites. Whilst we're still having sunny days and the occasional spot of warm weather, something I've been enjoying is a new range from Haribo. They've recently launched Frenzy flavours of their Starmix and Tangfastics and as I am such a sweet fanatic, I have not been able to stop eating them!
Frenzy editions of Haribo, flatlay with Summer drinks
I'm sure you've all heard of Haribo, they are the champions of all things sweets. From their original Starmix to Giant Strawbs, Jelly Babies, Cola Bottles, Goldbears and loads more, you'll find packets of these in most shops. I'm a huge fan of the original Starmix and the original Tangfastics so I was really intrigued by the new frenzy editions which are a refreshing mix of fruity drink combinations.

Starmix Fruit Punch

I definitely have my favourites in the original Starmix but I couldn't wait to try these as they are just full of unique flavours, each sweet is different. Flavours include - Strawberry and Rhubarb, Cherry and Lime, Apple and Elderflower, Grapefruit, Watermelon, Mango and finally Rhubarb, Passionfruit and Elderflowers. You can clearly tell each one is different and the flavour of them all is strong but not overpowering or overly sweet. I think my favourite out of these is probably the Cherry and Lime bottles, I can't get enough of them!
Haribo Starmix Fruit Punch

Tangfastics Fruit Spritzers

As the original Tangfastics are a go to of mine when I'm in need of a sweet treat, I was really excited to see what the Fruit Spritzer flavours would be like. In this pack, you'll find flavours such as Blueberry and Lemon, Pomegranate Limeade, Blackcurrant Limeade, Melon and Strawberry, Raspberry and Pineapple, Apple and Pomegranate, Melon Limeade and Apple Limeade. You are spoilt for choice with delicious flavours in this pack, I like them all! The cherries are usually my favourite in the original Tangfastics and I loved the flavour of them in this packet too, raspberry and pineapple go so well together.
Haribo Fruit Spritzers Tangfastics
I've absolutely loved trying the new Frenzy editions of Haribo, they've been perfect for days when I just want something sweet and it's been nice not knowing which flavour I'm going to get each time. I think the Tangfastic Fruit Spritzers were my favourite, we got through those so quickly as they're so moreish but I wouldn't hesitate to buy both in future. I'll definitely be looking out for these in my next food shop 🙊They're so good to have in for parties, picnics or for a cosy movie night in!
Frenzy editions of Haribo
Are you a fan of Haribo too? What's your favourite?

*Products sent for the purpose of this post

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Wednesday, 26 September 2018

My Favourite Musical Soundtracks #2

It feels like a while since my last musical theatre post so today I wanted to talk about some of the soundtracks I'm currently loving. I wrote a post like this last Summer but since then my love for all things musicals has just grown massively so the amount of different albums I've listened to is huge! I've whittled it down to 5 which was a struggle but I'm sure that means they'll be more posts like this in the future, let me know if you're a fan of any of these too!
Kinky Boots, Chicago, Come From Away, Hamilton, Mamma Mia

Kinky Boots

There isn't often a day that goes by now where I don't listen to at least a few songs from this soundtrack. For a long time it was a show I wasn't too fussed about, it never appealed to me but then when I took the time to listen to the soundtrack earlier this year, I soon totally got why people love it so much. I'm now a massive fan of the show and the music and I am so incredibly pleased we got to see it in May. I love that the soundtrack has such a variety of songs from more upbeat pieces which just make you smile to ones that kind of break your heart too. Seeing them play out in the show was amazing and I'm desperate to see it again before it officially closes in London in January. It's a show that's definitely not spoken about as much as ones like Wicked, Les Mis, Phantom etc. but honestly it's amazing in every way.
Kinky Boots - Lola

Chicago

It wasn't until a few months ago we finally decided to watch Chicago and I ended up absolutely loving it! It was another musical I wasn't that bothered about and whilst I had heard good things about the film, for a long time I just thought it wasn't the sort of music I'd like. Well how wrong was I. The film is absolutely brilliant and I've become such a huge fan of each song on the musical soundtrack. I've heard very mixed things about the stage show, some say it's very different to the film so that's kind of why it's probably not going to be one we see just yet. Also the prices are insane! For now I'll just keep listening to the soundtrack and watching the film, Catherine Zeta Jones is fab as Velma!
Chicago - Velma

Come From Away

I'm sensing a pattern here - another show I put off for a long time but now I can't stop listening. Come From Away is a pretty new show and it's actually not opening in London until January, but it's had rave reviews everywhere else so far. It's set in the week of the 9/11 attacks and it tells the true story of what transpired when 38 planes had to land unexpectedly in the town of Gander. All of the characters in the musical are based on real Gander residents and some of the stranded travelers they looked after during that time. I didn't feel an urge to listen to it at first and just thought it would be quite depressing but I feel so differently now. It's an incredibly uplifting story of how communities pull together in times of need and the music is just brilliant. If the casting rumours for the London cast are true, I'm going to have to try and see it at some point.
Come From Away

Hamilton

I don't even know where to start with this show, I'm just addicted to it. As the whole musical is told through rap and singing, it definitely takes a while to get through and really get to grips with what's going on but once you do, you realise just how incredible it is what Lin Manuel Miranda has put together. Each and every song is great in it's own way and really tells a story that you might not originally think would work as a musical. I'm so excited to see it play out in December, I'm counting down the days now. I don't tire of the soundtrack at all, it's been months and months now and I still get goosebumps at certain songs and I seem to have a new favourite song each week. Give it a chance if you haven't already, there's a reason it's so popular.
Hamilton - The Schuyler Sisters

Mamma Mia

I've fallen in love with all things Abba since the new Mamma Mia film was released. I was a huge fan of the stage show soundtrack because of the original film anyway but since the second film has come out, my love for it has just intensified. It's another show that's so expensive so I doubt we'll be seeing it any time soon but it's definitely one for the future. Some days I listen to the film soundtracks and other days the actual musical but all of them make me smile.
Mamma Mia - Sam, Bill and Harry
When I write posts like this I can't believe there was ever a time I had no clue about musical theatre and some of the amazing shows within it. I can't imagine being without it now!

Are you a fan of any of these shows too?

Other musical posts - My Top 10 Hamilton Songs // Kinky Boots at the Adelphi Theatre Review // Broadway to West End Transfers I'd Love To Happen

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Tuesday, 25 September 2018

This Is Going To Hurt By Adam Kay Book Review

Not too long ago I posted a little book haul and over the last few weeks I've been working my way through each of the books I shared. I started with Pictures of Lily by Paige Toon as I'm such a huge fan of her writing and after finishing that, I decided to go for something a little different to my usual read, This Is Going To Hurt by Adam Kay.
This Is Going To Hurt by Adam Kay book. Flatlay with candles
Welcome to the life of a junior doctor: 97 hour weeks, life and death decisions, and a constant tsunami of bodily fluids, and the hospital parking meter earns more than you. Scribbled in secret after endless days, sleepless nights and missed weekends, Adam Kay's This Is Going To Hurt provides a no-holds-barred account of his time on the NHS front line. Hilarious, horrifying and heartbreaking, this diary is everything you wanted to know - and more than a few things you didn't - about life on and off the hospital ward.

My review

I was really intrigued by this book and had been for quite a while. It was (and still is) a book that everyone had been speaking about on social media so when I saw it was on offer for just over £3, I thought why not give it a go? I instantly wasn't sure how I would feel about it though. Whilst I had only heard positive things, I have really extreme health anxiety so usually anything to do with hospitals is a no go and I just thought, this isn't going to be for me and it's going to set my anxiety off at a time where it's already so up and down. Well after I finished Pictures of Lily, I just had an urge to read it. I thought if I open it and I don't want to carry on, I don't have to, but I ended up getting through it in about 3 hours.

First of all this was so different to anything I've read before. I really like how Adam has written this book and how it's split into sections. Whilst a lot of it is diary entries, at the start of each chapter, there's a bit of a summary about where he is at the time and it's not just an account of what happened day to day on the job. He would summarise his feelings around the role he was then in and give us a bit more background into his life. I think the diary entries were brilliant - some incredibly sad and left me on the verge of tears, to others that were so funny and totally unimaginable on a hospital ward. You could also really tell from the start just how hard life is as a junior doctor and how you are quite literally thrown in at the deep end with very little help or guidance. Also it's a shocking insight into what life is really like working for the NHS and you feel just how much they struggle each day. I found Adam wrote the book in a way which makes you feel as if you're living this journey with him. At times I felt stressed or tense and like I was going through it aswell, and it really makes you question how you would cope in that role. In short, I don't think I could. My previous experience with nursing showed me how hard and demanding that particular role can be but I couldn't imagine being under the pressure that Adam was in his role.

Something that really pleased me with this book is that you get told lots of medical facts along the way so you do kind of feel like you're leaning but also whenever a medical word or procedure comes up that you might not have heard of before, Adam will give a little explanation. I found this really useful throughout and I think this really helped the book flow as you weren't just reading it thinking, I don't have a clue what he's on about.

I think the last thing I have to mention about this book is that whilst I did enjoy it and I'm glad I read it, I don't think it had quite the impact on me that it seems to have had on others. Amongst the positive reviews I've read, people have said it made them sob or laugh hysterically, or it just really made them feel something and whilst I did laugh and feel emotional sometimes, I don't think I quite got that wow factor from it, that others have. I do think a lot of that probably comes down to me and my anxiety as I was always a little on edge whenever certain things would come up, and also because of my past negative experience with working on a hospital ward, I just think maybe I was a little guarded. I love reading and I love that feeling of just letting yourself get totally immersed into the story and really feeling all the emotions but I almost don't think I allowed myself to get too caught up in it. #deep I know but that's the only way I can really describe it. In a way, I almost just wanted to get it finished and out of the way but again that's down to me, not really a reflection of the book. I definitely think it's a book anyone could read and even though I had quite a lot of mixed emotions around it and maybe didn't quite get from it what other people might have, generally it's brilliant and a great insight into life working for the NHS.

Have you read This Is Going To Hurt? If so, I'd love to know what you thought?


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Monday, 24 September 2018

Autumn Shoe Season Is Upon Us*

When a new season starts, I love treating myself to a few new bits for my wardrobe. As the weather changes from a boiling hot Summer to a cool Autumn, I'm slowly adding in more pieces that will see me through the colder months. There are some absolutely gorgeous bits out there at the moment so I thought I'd share some of the things I have my eye on!
Autumn Clothing Wishlist collage - New Look, Yours, Asos

Tops & Jumpers

I've actually not too long ago picked up a few new tops, but I have so many in my wardrobe I want to replace, so slowly but surely I'm getting a few new ones to add in. Yours Clothing have been a favourite of mine for a while, but these last few months especially, so much of my money has gone to them! At the moment I'm lusting over the blue floral wrap below. I don't have anything in this colour and I think it would go so well with my skinny jeans and a nice pair of boots. They do it in loads of colours too, and it just looks so comfortable. Onto New Look because they get it right every season. I love their Burgundy Lace Trim top, it's really simple but I love anything with a little bit of lace. I also had a little look at their jumpers and whilst they didn't have loads at the moment, I was drawn to a Khaki Longline one. I think dark green is such a flattering colour and this would be perfect to throw on when it's cold. Lastly for tops, I spotted a Stripe Peplum top from Pretty Little Thing. I am all for peplum tops so this is a must have. It's something else that I think is so flattering and it would go well with a black leather jacket and some dark boots.
Autumn tops, Yours Clothing, New Look, Asos

Shoes

Onto shoes, something I have seriously struggled with before when it comes to Autumn and Winter. I love a pair of boots but I'm so fussy and it can take me ages to find the right pair, which look nice but are also comfortable. I've recently picked up a stunning pair of leopard print boots but I could really do with another in a different colour, just so I'm properly prepared for any bad weather. A place I've found recently which does such a wide range of affordable shoes is Uppersole, from ankle boots to sandals for women, and formal boots to hi-tops for men, there is something for everyone. Below are some of the Uppersole must have shoes on my wishlist. Starting with trainers, something I'm desperately in need of, I absolutely love their slip on glitter plimsolls. They have a range of colours, but my favourites are the gold ones and the rose gold ones. Onto boots, I instantly loved the gold zip tassel Chelsea boots! I love that whilst they have a heel, it's not too high, so should be comfortable to wear throughout the day, and the tassel just adds something extra to a plain pair of shoes. Lastly, just because it's Autumn, doesn't mean we're not going to get sunny days too, so a good pair of pumps ready to pop on is a must. Their diamante loafers are so pretty and I especially love them in dark blue.
Autumn shoes, Uppersole trainers, boots, pumps

Jackets & Accessories

Finally, jackets, something else I do get quite fussy with. I've had my trusty leather jacket for years now, it's my go to whenever I go out but it probably does need replacing now. Whilst looking for tops at Yours Clothing, I spotted they had a new leather jacket in black that also comes with a faux fur collar. I think this might end up being the one I choose, it looks like it fits really well and the collar will be lovely on a really cold day. On the opposite end of the scale, I also really love the look of their Duster Jackets. As it's really lightweight it wouldn't be great for when the weather really gets bad, but for now whilst we're still in the transition from Summer to Autumn, I think it's perfect. The last thing I'm in need of is a new scarf. I love the few I have at the moment, but I'd like some a bit more colourful like the ones below. I think a yellow or orange checked scarf just screams Autumn and goes so well with skinny jeans, boots and a leather jacket.
Autumn clothes, Yours Clothing jackets, New Look scarves
Have you picked anything up for Autumn yet?

More autumn posts - Perfect seasonal nail polishes // Reasons I look forward to Autumn

*This post is in collaboration with Uppersole

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Friday, 21 September 2018

4 Tips For First Time Landlords*

One thing I would absolutely love to achieve in the future is not only owning my own home but also owning multiple properties and becoming a landlord. That might seem a little random and far fetched but property is such a brilliant way of investing your money and I've been interested in it for a long time now, saving as much as possible for the future and putting it towards something like this. As I've been renting for a good few years now, I already have some ideas of things I'd need to do if I ever get the chance to rent out property so here are some of the basic tips I'll be taking on board, and some of my experiences as a tenant too.
Bedroom, bed, lamp, pink and white

Read up on the law

It's vital you know all the rules and regulations around when it comes to renting out a property. Have a thorough read over all the legislation so you know exactly what you're doing and know it's the right thing for you and your family. Make sure you look in safety regulations too as you must ensure any tenants in the property are safe. Several check should be done before renting - smoke alarms fitted, gas safety certificate, a working water supply, checks of electrical systems and appliances etc.

Insurance

There are lots of challenges that you'll have to deal with when you become a landlord, from unexpected loss of rental income if a tenant leaves to damage on your building or possessions. Getting the right insurance is vital to ensure you're protected in case anything does go wrong during your time renting out a property. One company to consider is homelet.co.uk who are there for you every step of the way, offering help and advice, aswell as specially tailored products to make your job as a landlord easier. They can give you the peace of mind that if something happens, you won't be the one left footing the bill. Their insurance policies, designed just for landlords has affordable and comprehensive protection with the ability to add optional extras so you can arrange cover which suits you perfectly.

Decorating 

When you first buy the home you're intending to rent out, getting the decor and furnishing right can really help you secure a tenant. A few things to consider, neutral is usually the best way to go as it appeals to more people and goes with most furniture meaning tenants can add their own touch too. Cheap, light carpets might seem more appealing but aren't as likely to last and require more cleaning in between tenants, go for a more mid tone carpet which shouldn't show as many marks, great for bedrooms. It's entirely your choice if you choose to rent your property furnished or unfurnished but if choosing to include furniture in the rent cost, aim to cover the main rooms and don't go for things too out there! We're quite lucky that over time we've been able to replace most of the furniture that was in our flat originally for things more to our taste but at first having those few bits were a massive help, and I'm sure would be for anyone trying to move on a budget! On the other hand, I think it's important to be flexible when it comes to the tenant re-decorating themselves. Whilst yes you own the place and have the ultimate say, unless you're wanting to change tenants regularly, letting them make their own changes to make the place feel a bit more like theirs and somewhere they're comfortable and happy living in, can only benefit everyone.

Establish a good relationship with your tenants

I think it's so important to establish a good relationship with your tenants. They're living in your property so you want to know they're going to look after it and they want to feel secure and like they can come to you with any property problems. As a landlord you can listen to any of your tenants concerns, ensure any issues are sorted in a timely manner but on the other hand, also don't feel you need to be constantly checking up on them. We're lucky that our landlord leaves us to it and in our nearly 4 years of living in this flat, I've personally seen him a handful of times. Whilst we know it isn't technically our home, he's never made us feel that we can't be comfortable here or that we have to worry. If you can build a good relationship with your tenants, you'll feel far more comfortable putting your trust in them to look after the property.

Do you have any tips for first time landlords? or any experience? I'd love to hear!

#MyFirstRentalHome

*This post is in collaboration with Homelet

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Food I Have Been Loving This Week #30

Now it's not as warm and we're actually really getting into Autumn, I've been really enjoying getting back into the kitchen, cooking up some of my favourites and indulging in some of my favourite warm desserts too. When it's hot, I lose all inspiration when it comes to meal planning, so I am in my element at the moment now it's colder and we're into the best few months of the year.
Millies Cookies, Nandos Chicken, Apple Crumble, Bacon flatbreads, Spaghetti Carbonara, Lolas Cupcakes, Chicken Lasagne
Slow cooker Nandos chicken - This has been such a favourite of mine ever since we got a slow cooker. It's one of the most simple meals, literally put in 2 chicken breasts and a pouch of Nandos sauce (usually £1 in supermarkets), a little bit of water and leave on high for 4 hours. The chicken just breaks apart beautifully after a few hours and it really requires no effort. I've been loving it recently with a jacket potato, halloumi, coleslaw and some Nandos perinaise.

Homebaked Millies Cookies - I'm pretty sure I mentioned actual Millies Cookies in the last post like this, but as I've now discovered you can bake them yourselves at home, I had to include them in this post too. I'd seen them in Iceland originally, the white chocolate and the milk chocolate but for about £3 each which I'm just not going to pay so when I spotted them for only £1 a box in Heron Foods, I stocked up. These have been so great to pop in the oven when we've been in need of a sweet treat but not had much in.

Bacon and halloumi flatbreads - Halloumi is just the best cheese isn't it? I'd not been able to get it in our online shop for months, it was absolutely ridiculous but a few weeks ago, it finally came back to me. A favourite of ours at the weekend is bacon and halloumi flatbreads, I could eat another right now. I'm pretty much finding any excuse to put halloumi with a meal now it's finally back in stock at Asda!

Chicken Lasagne - Ahh I absolutely love this meal! I posted a recipe for it a long time ago but until recently it's not been something we have often. I love a classic lasagne or if we're going to have a pasta dish, it tends to be something like spaghetti but a few weeks ago I really fancied this and we've ended up having it quite a few times since. It's so tasty, the creamy white sauce is my favourite and you can't beat loads of cheese on top.

Lola's Cupcakes - Whenever George goes to London for work, he always tries to bring something back and recently after a day there, he picked up some Lola's cupcakes and they were absolutely delicious! I had the black bottom cheesecake cupcake, I've wanted to try it for ages but I've not seen it anywhere before, and it totally exceeded my expectations. The chocolate cake was so soft and the cheesecake, so creamy. Amazing!

Apple Crumble - Now it's got a bit cooler, I am all about the warming meals and hot desserts. I had like an intense need for apple crumble recently so we picked one up from M&S and I think it may be the best apple crumble I've ever eaten. It's just heaven with custard on top!

Spaghetti Carbonara - Another meal I can't get enough of recently. Anything with pasta is a winner for me and this is so quick and easy which is even better. It's so good with crispy bacon on top and garlic bread on the side.

Do you have any favourite meals to make in Autumn?

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Thursday, 20 September 2018

Simple x Little Mix Rich Moisture Sheet Mask Review

Okay so I went a little bit face mask mad when I was in Manchester but sometimes you need to just have a day where you treat yourself. August was such a brilliant month for me since going self-employed so when I was in the Arndale Centre I took full advantage of the plethora of shops available. Though I got quite a few different face masks, one that stood out to me straight away was the new sheet mask from Simple.
Simple x Little Mix Rich Moisture Sheet Mask - flatlay, flowers
This is a rich moisture sheet mask, which after trying the Garnier Moisture Bomb Mask a while ago, I've become a real fan of, and it's part of their new range with Little Mix. The range also contains a facial wash, micellar water, micellar wipes and an eye make up remover but the thing that interested me was the face mask. I love having things like this to hand for a pamper evening and it's something I personally don't think you can ever have enough of.

The first thing I want to mention about this is the packaging - it's gorgeous! I find a lot of the time I don't tend to reach for Simple skincare because it's quite basic and to be honest just doesn't stand out to me compared to other brands but they've got it so right with the packaging and design of this range. It's fresh and exciting and is really noticeable in the store.

This Simple Rich Moisture Mask is supposed to be perfect for dry and dehydrated skin as it infuses active nutrients in your skin and is enriched with a blend of botanical extracts and moisturising ingredients. In terms of applying the mask, for a sheet mask, it was incredibly easy. I've tried a few recently and a lot of the time I find they're massive and I struggle to get them to stay on my face properly but this was pretty much perfect. It contours the face really well and soon becomes like a second skin as it's so soft, leaving it on for the recommended 15 minutes was no problem at all. It had a very fresh scent, nothing too overpowering and it left my skin feeling incredibly soft and cleansed after removing. With any excess product from the mask, you can either wipe away with a cotton pad or massage into your skin, I did the latter and whilst I did notice it was a little sticky at first, this soon went away and as I said, I was left with the softest skin soon afterwards and I felt really refreshed. As I have quite sensitive skin I always worry with face masks how I'll react to them but this was absolutely fine, my skin didn't feel irritated in any way and I could just really feel the benefits. 

I'm so impressed with this mask and I'll definitely be picking more up in future. It's currently on offer too at Superdrug for just £1.45 so it's well worth trying whilst it's available! It's a perfect addition if you're in need of a pamper night!

Have you tried anything from the Simple x Little Mix range?

*Affiliate links used in this post

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Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Behind The Scenes Of A Blogger Tag

It's been a while since I last got tagged in a post like this so I was really happy to see one of my blogging faves Louisa had nominated me to take part in the #BehindTheScenesOfABloggerTag. It was one I'd never heard of before so feel free to take part if you want to answers the questions too.
Flatlay, face mask, biscuits, magazines, flowers
Who inspired you to create a blog and publish blog posts?
There wasn't anyone in particular really. I'd read a few beauty blogs in the past but never thought it was something I would do. Then I left uni and had pretty much nothing to do! I'd just started experiencing anxiety, couldn't find a job and just needed something to fill my time, and this was the thing I decided to go for.

How long have you been blogging for now?
It's been over 4 years now! I never expected when I published my first shocking post that it would be something I'd carry on with for more than a few months let alone years later.

Have you had any other blogging websites?
Not that I can remember.

Where do you see yourself and your blog in 5 years time?
I honestly have no idea. Whenever I try to come up with some sort of rough plan, it just doesn't work out. I'd like to think we'll have moved house and have a much longed for dog, it would be nice to finally have overcome my anxiety too, but I'm sure I'll still be blogging through it all. I never expected to one day be able to go self-employed with my blog and whilst it's not 'full time' I'd love for it to be one day so who knows really.

What message are you trying to get across with your blog?
I don't think I have a message really with my blog. It's just always been a place for me to talk about whatever I want and get my feelings out. If people take something from my blog or leave feeling happy then that's lovely but I definitely don't actively aim to spread any sort of message with it, it's just for me really.

Do people from school, college, uni or work find your blog?
As far as I'm aware most family know about it, friends and people I went to school with tend to see tweets or Insta stories I post so they'll know of it but to be honest I don't think most people care! I still think blogging is something people don't understand so I don't really receive much support or acknowledgement from a lot that do know. It used to bother me the thought of people I knew, from wherever, finding my blog but it's only improved over the years and I'm proud of it, so I'm really not fussed anymore.

What does your username mean?
It all comes from the film 'Love and Other Drugs'. I had no idea what to name my blog and George and I both came up with a few ideas and then as we were watching that film at the time, he came up with Food and Other Loves. At the time I was just starting a blog to post recipes so I thought it was brilliant, I still do. I couldn't imagine it as anything else now!

Who are your favourite bloggers?
I have so many, I feel like I'm going to miss so many out. Chloe from I'm Just A Girl for all the travel inspo and advice, Hannah from Luxury Blush for fab beauty reviews, Jenny from Jenny In Neverland for an abundance of book reviews and Jordanne from The Life of A Glasgow Girl for a collection of amazing posts. Honestly there are loads though, I couldn't possibly list them all!

My nominations:
All the 4 bloggers I've just mentioned! Feel free to copy the questions if you want to have a go too though.

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Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Pictures Of Lily By Paige Toon Book Review

Paige Toon is fast becoming one of my favourite authors. I'd not read any of her books previously until Five Years From Now which was released recently and if you read my blog often, you'll know how I felt about that book. In short, it was brilliant but heartbreaking and I still think about it! Since then every book I've read has had a lot to live up to but I was really keen to read more of Paige's books. The one that stood out to me when placing a little book order a few weeks ago was Pictures of Lily, and it didn't take long for me to get stuck in and get lost in another amazing story of Paige's.
Pictures of Lily by Paige Toon
Ten years ago when Lily was just sixteen, she fell in love with someone she really shouldn't have fallen in love with. Now, living in Sydney and engaged to another man, she can't forget the one that got away. Then her past comes back to haunt her, and she has to make a decision that will break her heart - and the heart of at least one of the men who love her.

My review

As soon as I started on the first page, I could tell this was a book I'd read quickly, There is just something about Paige's writing that has me gripped from start to end and I can't bare to tear myself away until I'm done. The first thing I loved about this book, out of many, many things was that pretty quickly you think you know where the story is going and then it gets flipped on it's head. We start with Lily and her mum moving from England to Australia to move in with her mum's new boyfriend Michael and his son Josh. I instantly thought, Josh is going to be the guy she falls in love with. It actually doesn't end up like that though and I'm so pleased about it. They have a bit of a rocky relationship but at times even as they get older there is a bit of will they, won't they? Ultimately they end up with a sort brother/sister relationship even after Michael and Lily's mum separate. Though this was written before Five Years From Now, that's the avenue that book goes down so I'm really glad this went down a different route.

Not long after that we are introduced to Ben, the man who is 12 years older than Lily, someone she really shouldn't be with, but despite that the chemistry is palpable. Paige has this way with her writing that makes you feel as if you're there with them, it just feels real and despite Ben and Lily never actually kissing the whole time of their initial 'relationship' the chemistry between them is electric and it makes you will for them to be together right from the start. Of course there wouldn't be a story if all things went smoothly and because of the age difference and the fact Ben is moving away and getting married, Lily has to come to terms with the fact they can't be together. This threw me back to how I felt when reading Five Years From Now, when the two characters also had the realisation that it just couldn't work, and it was just as heartbreaking in this book too. I felt her devastation and just hoped that later on in life they could work their way back to one another.

Something I really enjoyed about this book is how it was split into sections. We get so much backstory with Lily's move to Australia, getting to know Ben and then her utter despair at him leaving in the first half. Then in the second half we catch up with Lily 10 years later at a completely different stage of her life, we're then introduced to Lily's new fiance Richard and straight away you get the sense that Lily has never truly moved on from Ben. To make things even more difficult, Ben then shows up, divorced and just as in love as he was 10 years ago, so Lily has a very difficult choice to make. I definitely felt bad for Richard at times but I just always knew how I wanted the book to end. Whilst we don't see loads of Lily and Richard's relationship, to me it always felt that Ben was the one she should be with. It seemed like fate but that doesn't mean it was an easy decision. I won't spoil it for you in case you haven't read it but I really liked the way Paige wrote the ending, it certainly wasn't clear cut between Ben and Richard and for a while I really couldn't work out how it would end for Lily and if she'd be with either of them. Regardless of the ending though, the whole book was special, it made me smile, cry and just want to go back to the start and read it all over again. One final thing is that I also really like that the book starts with a marriage proposal and ends with one too, it felt like I'd been on a real journey with Lily and I'm happy with how everything was wrapped up. 

If you love a romantic book like me then I really recommend Pictures of Lily. It will make you feel such a range of emotions and you won't want to put it down.

Have you read any of Paige's books? Let me know if you have any recommendations!


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Monday, 17 September 2018

Cosy Living Room Ideas For Autumn and Winter*

When Autumn comes around, I always get a real urge to change thing up in our home. I want warm colours, gorgeous smelling candles, soft textures, I just want it to be cosy. A night in with a box set or film whilst it's raining outside, wrapped up in a blanket with a hot chocolate is absolute heaven and something I look forward to all year round. I really want to embrace the danish concept, Hygge this Autumn and Winter for ultimate relaxation and warmth so here are some my tips and the things I'll be taking on board for a ridiculously cosy few months.
Autumn flatlay - dark toned nail polishes, books, London trinket dish

Bring in warm tones

At the moment I am all for warm colours. Give me burnt orange, mustard, red, black, navy, copper, any day of the week over bright colours. Whilst you don't want to go overboard by using literally every single one in each room, adding an injection of a few of these into the living room creates a beautiful autumnal space that can carry you through Winter and Christmas too. We have quite natural colours in our living room anyway but this year I definitely want to add in some mustard cushions and some hints of dark orange either in the form of a throw or candles. Just a few little things can really change up the room. If you want to give yourself the task of redecorating the room entirely for the later months of the year, a trend I am loving at the moment is navy and copper. Add in a dark navy feature wall with copper accessories, and new contemporary flooring from Amtico for a gorgeous modern room that can easily be adapted for Autumn/Winter. Amtico have a wide selection of stunning luxury vinyl flooring so whichever room you want to transform, you're sure to find something not only functional but stylish too.

Blankets, blankets & more blankets

Getting warm and snug on the sofa is one of my favourite things so blankets are a must. Not just for that reason though but also because they can also really add something extra to the room. A blanket draped over the sofa arm adds texture and if you go for a deep orange or subtle mustard shade, it really adds a nice pop of colour. I've seen several really affordable blankets and throws in places like Primark and Asda in a variety of beautiful colours so it's definitely worth having a little look.

Change the lighting

An easy way to transition your home from Summer to Autumn is the lighting. For a cosy ambience, you can swap your brighter light bulbs to warmer toned ones and you could also add in a smaller lamps around the room rather than having the 'big light' on as us in Yorkshire say. An obvious addition though is of course candles! I'm always picking them up towards the end of the year. Turning all lights off and just lighting candles really makes the room feel inviting and just completely changes the atmosphere of the whole flat. I have a few dotted on bookshelves, the TV stand, the coffee table, literally everywhere but it means the living room looks absolutely beautiful when they're all lit.

Autumn decor

Finally, you can't beat places like Homesense and TK Maxx for some autumnal decor. Not just candles, though for me, they are a big part of Autumn and Winter, but things like copper dishes with seasonal potpourri in, acorns, warm toned artificial flowers, ornaments, there are so many things you can add to the coffee table as a centrepiece or add onto a bookshelf to really spruce up your home.

Do you have any other tips for making your home cosy for Autumn/Winter?

*This post is in collaboration with Amtico

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Friday, 14 September 2018

Current Netflix Top Picks #3

It doesn't feel like two minutes since my last Netflix Top Picks but I've been watching some great things recently so I couldn't wait to share them with you!
Monster in law, Bad education, Notting Hill, The Stanford Prison Experiment, Gavin and Stacey

Monster in Law

I remember having this film on DVD when I was younger and I used to love it so much! I was thrilled when I saw it had been added to Netflix and I think I've put it on at least 3 times since! Charlotte, played by Jennifer Lopez meets and falls in love with Dr. Kevin Fields. Soon enough she meets his mother, played by Jane Fonda and pretty quickly she realises that she isn't too thrilled at the thought of having her as a daughter in law. She see's Charlotte as competition and goes out of her way to try and call off the wedding. It's a typical rom-com and one that I don't think will ever get old.

Notting Hill

I mentioned this briefly in my August favourites but as I loved it so much, it had to go in this post. Notting Hill was one of those films everyone had raved about but I never got round to watching it until recently, and now I totally get the hype. It's such a lovely romantic film, Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts are so perfect in it and I'm sure it will be one I re-watch again and again in the future. It's also really made me want to visit Portobello Road next time I'm in London as it's somewhere I've not been before and obviously that's where a lot of it was filmed.

The Stanford Prison Experiment

I remember learning about the real life Stanford Prison Experiment in college and once I heard about a film being made, I was desperate to see it. It was something that genuinely really fascinated me in college so I was interested to see how it would play out in film and it was actually great. I'm not sure saying I enjoyed it would be right as it's obviously about something controversial (college students pretend to be either prisoners or guards and it soon got out of hand) and at times it was really uncomfortable viewing but it definitely kept my interest and I think the actors chosen were brilliant in it!

Gavin and Stacey

I never tire of this show! It's been a favourite of mine for so many years and I honestly never get bored of it. It's such a great show to put on in the evening in bed or to have on whilst I'm blogging or getting things done. Only series 1 and 2 are on Netflix at the moment but I did recently find series 3 on TV too so I've been able to start it from the beginning again. I still hope that one day they'll bring it back just for one Christmas special or something similar, we need to know what they're all doing now!

Bad Education

Another TV show that I can just put on in the background and not get bored of. Jack Whitehall is so funny in this and I'm so glad it's something I started watching as each episode just gets better. I also really like the movie too, sometimes when a show decides to make a film too it can often not be as good as you would hope but I actually think they did it really well and came up with a good plot. This is another one of those shows that I wish would come back in the future just for a few episodes at least.

I've already got a few things in mind for my Netflix post so I doubt it will be too long before you see that. Sometimes I really struggle with finding something to watch on Netflix, and there are definitely better months than others but recently they have added some amazing films and TV programs. Let me know if you have any recommendations or if you've been watching these too!

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Thursday, 13 September 2018

How To Transition Your Winter Outfits Into Spring*

I know, I know, we're only just leaving Summer behind and stepping into Autumn, but being able to transition your outfits from season to season is something to think about all year round. So here are some tips on how to transition your comfy Winter outfits into the start of Spring.
Spring flowers, rain

Layering

The problem I have when it comes to the end of Winter is how up and down the weather can be. One minute it's still freezing and we have snow and the next it's hot, so it can be such a pain knowing what to wear. Layering is such a easy way to start making the winter to spring transition though. It means you can be prepared for all weather. Had a cold few days? Add in a jacket, scarf and boots over jeans and a blouse and then if it warms up, these can easily be removed and you'll still be cool enough for any shock hot weather. It's better to layer up at first and be prepared for rain and snow rather than going out dressed for the middle of Spring and then have nothing to throw on.

Add in bright colours 

Like most people I imagine, in Winter I am all about the darker colours, blacks, greys, reds and it takes a lot for me to part with them. They are go to colours of mine and they suit me but whenever Spring comes around I like to add a pop of colour or pattern to change things up a little. Spring is all about being bright and colourful so add in that yellow top, that pink jacket, get creative! You can lighten up your look ready for the season ahead piece by piece. Even just swapping a chunky scarf for a thin floral one is a nice change, or switching the boots to pumps.

Ankle boots with dresses

If when Spring rolls around you're not quite ready to say goodbye to Winter, one look I really like is ankle boots with dresses/skirts. I think it's so unique and it's perfect in between the two seasons. One of my favourites I've seen recently is black ankle boots with a leopard print skirt, absolutely perfect for the colder months but can also easily be worn when the warmer weather is starting. If you want to pick yourself a new pair of boots for the upcoming months, there are some lovely Reiker ones available at Donaghys. Established in 1960, the Donaghys business has grown from strength to strength since the beginning and they now stock a variety of items suitable for the whole family. When in need of a new pair of shoes for a new season, Donaghys is the place to go for top quality brands at great prices.

Accessorize

Spring and Summer are the perfect months for accessories. You can really change up your outfit just by adding in a few pieces of jewellery or swapping in a new pair of shoes. Printed scarves are perfect, pretty jewellery can take your daytime outfit into the evening and you can even throw in a little over the shoulder bag too!

Do you have any tips for transitioning outfits from season to season?

*This post is in collaboration with Donaghys

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Wednesday, 12 September 2018

My Pet Story With Petplan*

Owning a pet is such an amazing experience and I was lucky enough to truly learn that when our family dog Bouncer arrived many years ago. I've spoken about him before in a post about why I have so much love for dogs but only briefly so when Petplan got in touch and asked if I would like to share my pet story and some of my fondest memories, I jumped at the chance.
Black and tan cavalier king charles spaniel

When did my love for dogs start?

Well, surprisingly not for a good few years. When I was very young, I really didn't like dogs, I have no idea why, I just thought they were scary and I never pictured us having one. In fact I remember so vividly one particular time we were at some sort of farm or park and there was a border collie running around and I assumed it was after me so I was in such a state, trying to run up slides and everything! It's something that's always stuck with me but somehow I obviously got over that and when we decided to bring a dog into the family, quickly I think we all realised it was just the best thing we could have done. Now I love all the dogs and can't imagine my life without them!

Meeting Bouncer and bringing him home

I think I must have been about 12 when we decided on getting a dog and I remember very clearly that first time we went to meet him. A gorgeous black and tan Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. There he was with his brothers and sisters, and whilst they were all of course absolutely beautiful, he just stood out to us. Instantly he was the most adorable little dog, whining on his way home with us and whining in the nights for weeks whilst he settled in but soon enough it was like we'd never not known him. I have no idea how I could have ever had such a bad fear of dogs because all he has done is make me want a house full to love and look after.
Black and tan cavalier king charles spaniel collage

Over 10 years of love

Unfortunately Bouncer passed away last September which has flown by but we are so lucky that we had over 10 magical years with him. He blossomed from this cute little puppy to this chunky, fluffy dog that everyone who met him, absolutely fell in love with. I have so many fond memories of him, it was a pleasure to have grown up alongside him and get to experience so much. He loved his holidays, running along the beach and into the sea with a ball, was always on the hunt for food (anything but his own was a winner) he gave the best cuddles, always knew when you were sad and needed some love and was generally just the best dog we could have asked for in every way. I so wish I'd appreciated the time I had with him more, the times he used to walk into my room and try to get onto my bed for a cuddle, the bath times which he absolutely hated but always looked so cute afterwards, the few weeks George and I had to look after him ourselves in the Summer. There is so much I think back on and wish I could re-live again. He is so missed and there's not a day that goes by where I don't think of him.
Black and tan cavalier king charles spaniel
Black and tan cavalier king charles spaniel

My future with dogs

George and I have been together for 7 years now, we're recently married and we're really settled in our home so for us I think it's the natural next step. We've ticked a few things off our rough plan and I don't think it will be too long before we really make a start on bringing a dog into our little family. My heart already feels like it's going to burst at the thought of it. If I had it my way, we'd get a dog tomorrow but unfortunately there's quite a lot to consider which is why we haven't taken the chance just yet. Getting a dog is not a decision that can be made over night, they need your constant love and attention and so much more goes into something like this than you realise. Is our flat big enough? Can we afford it? What happens if they get ill? Which insurance company? So many things I've researched now for months! Luckily with Petplan Pet Insurance, there's no need to worry. They are pet specialists whose policies cover several conditions and they are able to pay out on 97% of claims. Their main aim to keep our pets healthy and their owners happy, which is what we all want isn't it? So if the worst does happen and your pet gets ill, they can help you get them back on their feet without any extra concern. So many questions go through my mind when I think of us getting a dog but I know we're ready. We would be the best dog parents and the time I had with Bouncer growing up has just installed this intense love that I want to share. I really feel it's the next natural thing for us, it's just a matter of saving now!

Petplan want to hear your Petstories too, so whether it is a recovery from illness or just their day to day mischief share your story on Petplan's Facebook or Instagram using #Pethoodstories

Did you have a family pet growing up? Are you more of a dog person too?

*This post is in conjunction with Petplan but all thoughts are my own

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