Friday, 30 June 2017

Interiors Trend - Gold & Marble


Anyone who knows me, online or in person, will tell you I absolutely love interiors! In fact it is the one thing I’d want to study if I had the financial freedom to go back to university. I’m a creative by nature, and interior décor in our home is my way of expressing my arty streak! We bought our first home at the beginning of the year, so decorating has been a BIG part of my life for the last six months!

There are a lot of trends that I love; Scandi, minimalism, Moroccan, Bauhaus etc., and I like to merge all of these together in our living space to get the perfect blend of everything I love! But there’s one trend that I am soooo into at the moment – Gold & Marble! It’s the typical blogger in me coming out, I know, but I just love the clean elegance of this trend! So I decided to put together a list of some of my recent favourite gold and marble finds, and the online shops I like to buy them from! 

Each image is linked for ease - Enjoy!


 Marble & Copper Lazy SusanFlow Recipe Stand  Buy John Lewis Gold Pineapple, Large Online at johnlewis.comBuy Vera Wang for Wedgwood Vera Venato Marble Effect Teacup Online at johnlewis.com Buy Design Project by John Lewis No.073 Marble and Brass Bookends, Multi Online at johnlewis.com 


Some of my favourite online home-ware shops include:
 Buy west elm Brass Cheers Object Online at johnlewis.com  Luxe Drinks TrolleyLarge Gold & Glass Mirrored Tray Gold & Glass Nesting Trinket Boxes
Pineapple Jewellery Stand   Marble wall clock - white - Menu   

  
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Thursday, 29 June 2017

My Summer Essentials

I don’t want to jinx it, but I’m fairly certain we’re on the cusp of some pretty amazing weather here in the UK (despite all the rain lately)! Although I love Summer and the chance to catch a few rays, it does through a spanner in the works when it comes to my wardrobe and make up! Even my skincare routine seems to change completely when the Sun has got his hat on! This being said, there a few bits and pieces I pull out every year that I would definitely consider to be my Summer essentials -  so I thought I’d share these can’t-do-without’s with you lovely lot!


Makeup


Probably the first thing I notice during the warmer weather is when my ‘usual’ make up starts to become a little uncomfortable and irritating – with that horrible feeling that it’s sliding off your face! During the cold months, I like to wear medium coverage base and usually a good bit of eye-shadow, powder and bronzer/contour, but once Mr. Sun comes out, I just can’t bear my usual routine! Instead, I find myself stripping my routine right down and sticking to the bare minimum. I love to use a light coverage foundation, just to balance my skin tone a little, and lately I’ve been reaching for my Lancôme cushion foundation and it does the job perfectly. I mentioned this in my last post on high-end products worth the hype – I just love it more every day! It doesn't contain any SPF, but I usually like to apply this separately to be honest, and layering SPF products on top of each other actually decreases their strength! I also love this La Roche-Posay tinted moisturiser, for when it's heat wave time! Another beauty fave for Summer is obviously waterproof everything! Especially mascara - I like to use Eyeko's Sport Waterproof mascara to avoid the panda look... #EyelidSweatIsREAL

Lip balm


Admittedly, lip balm is an all-year-round necessity for me, as my lips always feel just a little bit dry! This happens a little less in the summer, I guess, so I feel like I’ve got a little more freedom to the type of balm I like to wear. I recently started using the NUXE Ultra Nourishing Lip Balm and I can’t stop applying it! It just feels expensive (although it really isn’t too bad price-wise at £9.50!) and so soothing on the lips! It’s quite think, more so than usual, and I think this helps it achieve the amazing staying power it has! Also, I could never leave out my old friend Mr. Carmex – this stuff is amazing, but we all know this already!


SPF


I have to admit, despite knowing how important SPF is all year around, I tend to only take notice of using it as an additional step in my routine in Summer time. I know, I know – so bad! I feel like it’s one product that can be so far to the extremes of ‘hit or miss’, as some products I’ve tried have ruined my make up if I’ve applied them underneath, or just feel so think and uncomfortable!
I think it’s a little less of a chore to find a suitable body SPF (I like to use the La Roche-Posay Anthelios Body Lotion, SPF 30), but finding a facial SPF that isn’t, frankly, minging on the face has been quite a challenege! I’m dying to get my hands on the Glossier sun screen – it looks perfect! Hurry up and come to the UK already, Glossier!


Sunglasses


They used to be something I put so little thought into, and I actually barely wore them until a couple of years ago, but sunglasses no are an absolute must for me now! Aside from the fact that protecting your eyes is so important when catching some rays, they also hide a multitude of sins on those days where even mascara is a ‘nope!’… So, I decided that I wanted to sniff out some good quality lenses, as well as good quality frames, and found a great selection at www.discountedsunglasses.co.uk. Settled on a pair of tortoise-shell Boss beauties, but there was so much to chose from - I highly recommend them!


Tan


I have to admit, although it is not all that ‘cool’ to be paste-y white, I actually love and embrace my paleness most of the year. But, when summer comes around and it’s time for generally less clothes, my lily-white legs and arms can be a little blinding for all the wrong reasons. I’m definitely a fan of self-tanning at home rather than getting a spray tan (no one should have to endure seeing be with nothing but a pair of paper knickers on…!) and I definitely usually go for something labelled ‘light’ or ‘gradual’, to avoid too many mishaps! There are two products I’m using at the mo’ which are doing an amazing job of giving me a bit of colour – they are NKD SKN Gradual tannerSkinny Tan 7-day Tan in Original. The gradual tan option obviously gives you a slower result, but both have their advantages, depending on what you’re looking for.







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Thursday, 22 June 2017

Tips for First Time Dog Owners


About 2 years ago, we offered to look after a friend’s dog while she was away on a business trip. I’d met Laika, my friend’s Staffordshire bug terrier, a few times before she stayed with us for a week but it was still a daunting task when she first arrived! Neither of us had ever had a dog as kids (well I did for about 3 months until my dad gave him away!) but we knew we were definitely ‘dog people’! I’d been hooked on Cesar Milan’s The Dog Whisperer for about a year by this point, and thought I was a pro! In hindsight, it has to be said you can do all the research you want, but there is nothing like hands on experience to really help you realise what it’s like to have a dog!


Laika was an older lady dog, who had been rescued from a life of excess breeding – you could tell she was exhausted. Her temperament was beautiful and she was an absolute joy to look after - I cried a few tears when we got home from returning her when the week was over.

This was definitely the push we needed towards getting our own dog, and so our journey began to finding Hutch!


We visited a few rescue centres before finding Hutch at Bryson’s Animal Shelter in Gateshead, and even walked a few dogs before we considered him, but after all the searching, we definitely ended up with the perfect little pooch for us! He transitioned perfectly to living with us and right away, he began to change our lives. I has suffered quite badly with health anxiety the year before we got him, and it was amazing how much of a positive impact he had on my mental health from the very first day we took him home!
It’s almost 2 years since we got him, and I couldn’t be happier to have him in our lives! Although there were a lot of things to consider, change and rearrange about us and our lives along the way, he’s my best friend and I don’t ever want to be without him! Below I’ve made a list of tips for first-time dog owners -  I hope it inspires you all to consider if you could give a rescue dog a home!



Be Patient

Bringing your first dog home can be a bit unnerving. Neither you are the dog are used to the new living situation, and things can get a little testy in the first few weeks. Potty training is one of the first things to master but this can take time, especially if you have a pup on your hands! We were so lucky that Hutch was fully house trained and had no accidents when he first arrived.
Your new dog might also have a few bad habits, like chewing or pulling on walks that you need to work on but all these things take time. It’ll all be worth it when you and doggo are settled into the new routine and enjoying being one another’s new best friends!

Be Vigilant

Although being patient is so, so important, it’s also to be aware of things and keep a close eye on developing behaviors when you first bring your pupper home. You can help keep temptation and potential danger to a minimum by making some small changes around the house. For example – child gate the stairs if you don’t want doggy on your bed, or being sure to tidy anything away that you don’t want to be thoroughly chewed on!

Be the Boss

It’s a bit controversial, this idea of being the Boss of your dog. Many people don’t agree with it, but there’s no denying leadership and dominance is something that is happens throughout the animal kingdom. Violence or even losing your temper with your dog is NEVER okay, but it is imperative that you set strict boundaries from the get go. You new pup will actually thank you for being strict – they love to know their place and role within their ‘pack’ as soon as possible!

Be Consistent

Save yourself the wasted time of trying to set a certain rule or trick, if you aren’t always going to follow through with it every single time. Dogs learn by reinforcement and repetition, so if you want the dog to stay off the couch, then it has to be a 24/7 rule, not just when you feel like it! Also, don’t be disheartened if your pupper isn’t catching on right away. Stay consistent and persistent, and try different incentives and your new best friend will be following the rules in no time at all!

Be Playful

While being the Boss is important to developing a dogs relationship with it’s new owners, there’s still a vital role in that relationship for play! This is the quickest way to establish boundaries and to help the dog begin to understand you and your body language and mannerisms in the most relaxed and enjoyable way. Not all dogs are responsive to play as others, but you can bet even the most lazy, uninterested dog gets the urge to be silly and let go every now and then. Grab a tennis ball, and go have fun!

Be Honest

The first few weeks, and even months, can be quite an adjustment for you and doggy. You’ll be finding out new things about each other your whole lives, so don’t expect to know everything right away. But do be mindful of admitting to yourself if things are really not working out. It’s heart breaking whenever you see a pup being sent back to the animal shelter but if you can’t give him the life he needs then it’s better to let him go and find a better chance with someone else.
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Monday, 19 June 2017

How to make the most of your spare time

I think I’m ready to finally say it…I’m lazy! I’m someone who really has to push myself to do even the simplest tasks sometimes. Admittedly, it’s down to low-mood some of the time, but it has to be said that a lot of the time I just cannot be bothered! It’s really easy for me to plan a million things to do on my next day off, but often when it comes to it, I find excuses of just ignore my to-do list completely!
In the hope of changing my ways a little, and finding more balance with how I spend my spare time, I made a few changes, got rid of some old bad habits and made sure to still allow myself some relaxation time. I think the key to it all has been not punishing myself for those few hours when I do just want to lounge around and not do much, which has ultimately led to me feeling and actually being more productive! So, I thought it might be a nice idea to share a few things I’ve started to do to make sure I'm making the most of my spare time…


Sleep
I think sleeping might be my favourite thing to do, like, ever. They say 6-8 hours a night is the perfect amount for most people; some folks need less, some need more. I think I usually get around 5-7 hours most nights, at least during the week, but there's really nothing better than allowing yourself a guilt-free lie in every now and again. Clear you diary and make sure you regularly have a day where you can take time the night before to prepare for a good quality long sleep, and have nothing to wake up for too early in the morning! Go on, you deserve it!

Put that smartphone down...
It’s official, we’re now in the ‘Digital Age’, and we can do so much now with just a push of a button, or by downloading an app. But the more we become reliant on our phones, the more we seem to get detached from those around us, and sometimes, even get detached from reality. When we see ‘perfect lives’ played out relentlessly on Instagram etc. it makes us doubt and question our own life. That’s why it’s super important to put the smart phone down every now and again, and give yourself an afternoon, a day, or even a week to go and check-in at Hotel Reality. You’ll soon start to realise again how precious real life is, and how genuine human interaction trumps followers and likes any day of the week!


Take a bath
I have a couple of friends who don’t have a bath in their home, and it completely baffles me how they can live without them! For me, sometimes taking a long, hot, bubbly bath is the highlight of my day! It’s the time when I think and reflect. It’s when I can sing obnoxiously along to Spotify. It’s a time when I can put on a facemask, hair mask, shave my legs and feel completely refreshed. Obviously, this is all possible with a shower, but I find taking a bath to be such a treat. I think I’d rather have a bath than a bed, to be honest!
Get up a little earlier to relax before the day starts
This is something I started doing lately completely by accident! I used to be someone that left it as late as possible to get up, to ‘make the most’ of being in bed. But recently, if I wake up earlier than I need to, I just get up! I use the extra time to make a cup of tea and read a book or watch a little TV before the chaos of the day drags me away with it. The feeling of not rushing is so much more calming to me than an extra 30 minutes in bed. It’s also been proven that going back to sleep when you’ve already naturally woken up will leave you groggier throughout the day!

Spend more time with friends & family
This kinda ties in a little with my earlier point about putting down the phone and taking a break from social media. Lately, I’ve been spending so much time trying to engage with my blogging audience and friend that I’ve become a little detached from my real friends and family. I have to admit, it makes me a little sad that it’s so easily done, and if you don’t catch yourself early enough, it can really start to damage the relationships you have had for years, outside of the internet.
Now, I make a point of setting aside 2 hours after work to be with Rich, just us, and I make sure I’m seeing family and friends regularly and without any distractions involved!

Tidy your Surroundings
As much as I believe in your spare time being a time for you to relax and recharge, I think a good tidy-up is the quickest route to tidying your mind! I for one can definitely relax a little easier when my surrounding are not a complete mess. We recently bought an old townhouse, which is a blessing and a curse at the same time, as the extra space means more capability for mess… sob! To try to keep on top of it all, I like to do a little every day, and make an effort to do a bit more of a deep clean at the weekend. I think it’s important, though, to plan out how long you’re going to spend and what you want to achieve before you start, so you can make sure you aren’t slogging your guts for too long, or alternatively, quitting too soon!


Get rid of clutter!
I mean this figuratively and literally! In a literal sense, this links with the previous point about tidying, as the more cr*p you have around you, the more often you’ll have to clean and tidy! I read Marie Kondo’s TheLife Changing Magic of Tidying Up last year and it completely changed my approach to buying and keeping stuff I don’t love. My wardrobe never consists of more than 25 items at any one time, and I completely streamlined the rest of my belongings because, frankly, I didn’t really want them in my life when I had a good hard think about it!

From a more figurative prospective, clearing out bad habits and toxic people from your life can do just as much good and will help you make the most of your spare time by spending it doing things and seeing people you actually like! For me, this was trying to kick the habit of watching too much YouTube! I started to become obsessed with watching vlogs, and wishing I was like them. It actually started to get me quite depressed! So I promised myself that I’d do something more productive with my time; instead of watching travel vlogs and wishing I was wherever the vloggers were, I made plans of how I could save and go and explore the world for myself! And I can’t explain how much better I feel because of it!

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Thursday, 1 June 2017

High end favourites worth the hype

Maybe it’s the pressure of the online beauty world, or maybe it’s just cause I’m a sucker for good quality, but ever since I started reading beauty blogs I have swooned over all things high end! Don’t get me wrong, I have some major Holy Grail products that are Superdrug & Boots-stocked, but where I can go for luxury, I do! I don’t drink much, or smoke or even go out socialising all that often, so spending a little extra on my beauty products is definitely my main vice (…as well as Nandos and donuts…)!


I think you can definitely tell the difference between highend and lower end beauty in a number of ways, depending of the type of product & its ingredients list etc. etc. but mostly I tend to judge each product on:
  • How long-wearing it is
  • How easy it applies
  • How it works with other products from different brands
  • How pretty and well-functioning the packaging is - i.e doesn’t smash to pieces the minute I put my make up bag down a little more heavy-handedly that usual!
  • How it last over time – if I’m spending £50 on a palette, I want it to last me a while!

So, with all this in mind, I decided to put together a list of my favourite high end buys that I bought on recommendation from others, and let you all know exactly why I fell in love with them!

This range was all the rage a couple of years ago, and as Hourglass keep rolling out extensions of the Ambient Lighting range, it’s safe to say it’s been a favourite for a lot of folks! I have a couple of the single compacts, and can safely say I’m pretty sure they contain magic! They have beautiful ‘blurring’ properties, while giving a beautiful, naturally angelic glow that really lasts throughout the day! I think I need to try the bronzers next…!

A YouTube & blog favourite, this blush is another cult product that everyone has heard of! I was late to the party with this one, but I have to say it is a beautiful blush. It’s a gorgeously girly coral blush, with very fine gold shimmer. It just makes me look so ‘healthy’ - I cannot get enough of this beaut! It’s so finely milled, and really easy to apply with no loss of control but lots of build-ability!

For all this brand has gotten quite a bit of attention this past year, I really their highlighter is so underrated. I have the Citrine shade, and the glow is off the charts! I feel like it’s one of the only powder highlighters I have tried that I can wear over un-powdered foundation without it going stripy. Although the payoff is out of this world, it’s really easily controllable and buildable, and you can amp up the glow to max in no time!

I have to admit, I’ve only had this for a couple of week now, but MY GOD I love it already! I was so dubious of the whole cushion trend, but at least for this product, it has definite benefits! The cushion helps with managing how much product your using, and actually encourages you to use a little less than you might normally (I’m hoping this means it’ll last longer!). The foundation itself is also just so beautiful. For starters, it’s rare that I find shades light enough for my skin (think NW13!) but I tried this one in Porcelain and it’s just lovely! It has a perfect every day, medium coverage that is definitely buildable and workable. I would say the finish isn’t really dewy, but definitely looks natural and second skin-like – it’s just so chic and French!

Again, this is fairly new to my beauty stash, but is already a keeper! After I tried the Dolce Vita eyeshadow palette, I was really keen to try more Charlotte Tilbury beauty! CT beauty is already really established in the beauty world, but honestly, I think it is completely earned and warranted. I have tried so many products of hers now and I can’t say I’ve been disappointed by one yet! And this all-in-one style palette is no exception! The eye shadows and perfect everyday stunners, the bronzer and highlighter are the same products as in the Filmstar Bronze and Glow palette (another fave!), and the cheek colours are just enough flush. And as well as the gorgeous products, the palette is really compact and with a huge mirror. I think the convenience of it is just as appealing as the products itself!


Until fairly recently, I was very anti-primer. I was convinced it was a con, and that it was not necessary at all – especially not eyelid primer…. How wrong I was! I had seen Anna, from The Anna Edit, talking about this multiple times and started to get very curious after my eyeshadow started getting a little patchy over the last few years. It turns out your lids get a little oiler with age, and this eyeshadow base from NARS does wonders for balancing them back out again!

Another blogger favourite that has stood the test of time (okay, well a few years at least!) is this gorgeous lipstick range from YSL. It’s decadent gold packaging is what appealed to me first, but the lipstick itself is now a huge favourite of mine – especially for summer! I have the shade gorgeous shade ‘Orange Impertinent’ and its completely stunning! I feel like the finish is what I can only describe as a less-sticky, pigmented gloss. It gives a beautiful sheen to the lips and an even colour payoff. Definitely worth investing in, as there’s a shade for everyone!


After the release of the new ‘Powder’ foundation by Giorgio Armani, I feel like this beauty has slipped under the radar a little recently, but it’s still a foundation that I will always strive to have in my stash. Unfortunately, I don’t have any at the moment, but I can’t wait to get my hands on it again, as the colour match for this blew me away. The finish is so, so beautiful, and my skin looks so awake when I wear it! It’s not too heavy, but still provides a lovely even courage that gives me a massive confidence boost whenever I have it on! I feel like it might be one of the only foundations I have ever tried that I have literally no gripes about – it’s just perfect!
I discovered this amazing stuff about 3 years ago when I got a free sample of it with a magazine just before my wedding, and I was flabbergasted at how great it was - one of my favourite mascaras of all time! I have never found anything that lengthens, volumises and separates so perfectly without clumping – it’s freaking amazing! I’m not sure if I’ve heard too many people talking about this in the blogosphere recently, but I know it’s been out for a fair few years now and I know soooo many people who swear by it in my circle of friends and family!


No.10 MAC Studio Finish concealer

I think this might be one of the first high end beauty products I ever bought, and I remember feeling so bougie about it – haha! Since then I don’t think I’ve ever been without it. It’s my perfect no-sleep remedy, as I use it as both an under eye concealer and a blemish concealer. It’s full (like, really full…) coverage, but is still really workable and easy to blend out. A great benefit, of course, is that because it’s MAC it comes in a massive range of colours so there is a shade for everybody! 

Well, that's my sermon over for another day -  I hope you found it useful in some way! Let me know in the comments if we have any of the same high-end favourites!

Lx
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