Thursday, 30 April 2015

April Favourites - 1/4 Year Thoughts

Well, I know I'm echoing what probably everyone in the world is thinking right now but MAY?!?! How?!

Seems like only yesterday that it was January...seriously scary stuff. This year is going far too fast and it genuinely will be Christmas before we know it. 

Anyway, enough ramble, I don't really have any favourites to share this month as I've been a virtual saint and not really bought anything new! I have blogged about my Lush haul (loving all those items in fairness) but I haven't treated myself to any new products or clothes this month. In fact all I seem to have done this month is eat, drink too much, and chronically overthink! But, every day is a fresh start and I can hopefully adopt a more positive outlook next month and eat better/drink less.

Some yummy foods I've had this month:
(L-R: bacon & garlic mushrooms on toasted muffin with salad, fresh rainbow trout with yellow rice and salad, Moroccan lamb tagine, mini fish & chips)



And as usual, consuming my body weight in cocktails:
(L-R: girly cocktails in Shrewsbury, cocktails in Chester with Ben on our mini break, my friends birthday cocktail extravaganza, a French martini by the beach with my Mum on our walk last week)


Hope you had a productive month. May I hope brings some more sun, some more exercise, and some more positive thinking! 

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Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Sunny Church Bay

On Sunday me and some friends jumped in the car and headed off to explore as it was such a beautiful sunny day.

We headed to Church Bay, which is a beautiful little secluded bay, with a stunning coastline and lots of cliffs surrounding it. Shamefully I had never been before which I can't quite believe! 

We explored and clambered around for a while, and then headed towards the breakwater, which is in a port town about 5 miles away from Church Bay. Admittedly the area is certainly not the prettiest of places, but there are still some beautiful spots if you look a little deeper. We wandered towards the breakwater and along a coastal path past a derelict folly and castle, which would have been absolutely magnificent in its day, I hate seeing history just abandoned that way.

It was such a lovely day, I'm already fantasising about heading back to the beach with a BBQ and watching the sunset! I absolutely adore being outdoors in the good weather, and it felt good wiping the dust off my 600D and getting some non-phone photos for once! 

How did you spend your (hopefully) sunny weekend?  





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Sunday, 26 April 2015

USpicy Make Up Brushes

I was in dire need of some new, good quality make up brushes, but didn't want to end up forking out a ridiculous amount of money for them.

I heard good things about USpicy brushes through the bloggersphere, and reviews I had also read from professional make up artists were largely positive. I looked on Amazon and I discovered that their 10 piece brush set was only £14.99 as opposed to £35.99. Bargain! 


I snapped up a set in white (they also do black) and I really like the look of the brushes with their gold tips. They also do a 6 piece set for £10.99.


The brushes arrived in a purple gift box, which immediately made the set look even more appealing and good value for money. They would also make a really nice gift for a friend.

The set contains - 

  •  flat brush
  •  tapered brush 
  •  flat angled brush 
  •  angled brush 
  •  round brush 
  •  precision flat brush 
  •  precision tapered brush 
  •  precision flat angled brush
  •  precision angled brush 
  • precision round brush 

I'm really looking forward to giving these brushes a go, they feel well made with good quality bristles for the price, I just can't justify spending an arm and a leg on Real Techniques or Charlotte Tilbury brushes, no matter how amazing they might be.  


Have you used USpicy brushes? 
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Friday, 24 April 2015

Outfit Post: Ripped Jeans and Strappy Heels

I really love the ripped denim trend, especially when it's done right. I've seen a few photos of celebrities in jeans so ripped there are more rips than material, and for me personally, that's too much.
I liked ripped jeans to look easy and casual, but still smart enough to wear on a night out.

I bought my ripped jeans from ZARA the summer before last and although I've had a fair bit of use from them worn with Uggs in the winter and flip flops in the summer, I haven't really tried dressing them up before.

Zara have always been my go-to for jeans, I'm quite fussy where I buy them from and always love any I buy from there. Recently I've bought a few pairs from Pull & Bear, but they're literally the only two shops I buy jeans from, I just like the fit and quality of them best.

My silver strappy heels are also from Zara - I liked the way they looked with the jeans. I wore them turned up slightly with a loose cream top from Forever 21 and a black fitted blazer from H&M.


What do you think?

Jeans: ZARA / Shoes: ZARA


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Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Lush Haul - Spring Additions


Now I'm finally free from the shackles of the 100 Day No Spend I treated myself to some goodies from Lush. Lots of people who have done the No Spend challenge have been really good, but I'm just not  dedicated enough and have still been treating myself to lots of a few cosmetics during the 100 days.

While I have refrained from buying everything on my beauty wishlist to ease the pain of not buying clothes, I have bought bits and pieces. I haven't been to Lush at all though simply because I know how quickly things from there can mount up!

With this is mind I allowed myself a couple of new things to keep me going over Spring:

Grass Shower Gel

I was in need of a new shower gel after recently finishing Flying Fox, and that is a particularly strong scent, so I wanted something a little more pared down. I was really torn between this and Dirty Springwash, but as I'm not huge on minty shower gels I went for this one. I  think Grass might be a bit Marmite for some as its not particularly sweet smelling, but I like the natural, not overly perfumed scent and it also makes my skin feel really soft and nourished afterwards.


Mask of Magnaminty

I've heard so many good things about this self-preserving mask, and as someone who has battled acne and problem skin all my life, the positive reviews sold it to me. I've blogged before about my usual favourite Lush mask, Love Lettuce (read my review here) which although I love it, doesn't really do anything for blemishes. Over the winter with being covered up, I've got a few blemishes on my back too, and I know this mask can be used on the body too. I can't wait to try it, I'll pop a review up when I do.


Granny Takes A Dip Bath Bomb

I really didn't need any more bath bombs to be honest, I've got a drawer full of unused ones and I've yet to even touch my Valentine's goodies, but there's just no way I could leave Lush without at least one! This is so bright  and colourful and has been on my wishlist for yonks so I regret nothing :)


What do you think of my haul? Have you tried any of these products?
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Monday, 20 April 2015

Life Lately Through My Camera Roll

I always really enjoy reading other's posts about what they've been up to, so here's my last week (or so) through my iPhone:

The weekend before last I went to stay with my friend in Shrewsbury; it's such a pretty place with a surprisingly good night-life. She's actually leaving for pastures new so this was our final Shrewsbury night, but we've had some great times. She took me for lunch in a riverside pub and then we went out, was such a fun night.


As I mentioned in my last post, Ben and I had a night away in Chester. It just so happened that both my trips fell so closely together, I'm not always so exciting! You can read in more detail here


As the sun has finally got its hat on (hope I don't tempt fate now) we had our first BBQ. As usual the boys congregated around the fire like cavemen, why is that?!

I also went out for some cocktails for my friend's birthday on Friday night, and went for some lunch and shopping with my Mum over the weekend, the mini fish & chips were so cute.



What have you all been up to this week?


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Saturday, 18 April 2015

A Night In Chester

Last week Ben and I went for an overnight stay in Chester. I absolutely LOVE Chester; its so pretty with its bustling, winding little streets, is great for shopping and has seemingly endless bars and restaurants.

A friend of mine told me that there was a new Roomzzz hotel opening, and that they were doing an introductory offer of a room for £30, which is a total steal.

After we had checked in, checked out the room and dumped our stuff we headed into Chester to do some shopping. As I've now finished the 100 Day No Spend challenge (see my post here) I could have gone mad, but with a man in tow its never quite as easy as that! I did a Lush haul (post coming soon) but aside from that I was remarkably restrained! Maybe my shopaholic days are over? (Doubtful)

The hotel itself was super modern and convenient. We had a Superior Studio room which came equipped with a small kitchen (hob, microwave, fridge) a two-seater sofa, and a nifty TV that can be swivelled round to either watch in the room or in bed. We really enjoyed it. I definitely think that style of hotel is the hotel of the future. There's also a Grab & Go breakfast where you pick from a selection of pastries, fruit, juice and coffee and take it back to your room in a brown paper bag.


That evening we ate at The Botanist which I had been dying to try. Its quirky and relaxed with a good atmosphere and an amazing range of cocktails. I had a raspberry & thyme martini and a watermelon sling but it was so difficult to choose. The decor is very shabby-chic and there are loads of nice little touches around the place. We shared a starter and both had burgers, so good.


The sun was shining the next day so we decided to walk around Grosvenor Park and relax in the sun. It was such a lovely stay and really brightened up my week, especially as it was such a bargain.


Have you ever stayed in Roomzzz or eaten at The Botanist? If so, what were your thoughts?
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Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Review: Naobay Moisturising Peeling

It's been a while since I've done a review, but I've recently started using this product which came in the March Glossybox, so I thought I would give my thoughts on it.

Naobay Moisurising Peeling 100ml £13.71



The name is a little deceiving, I was expecting it to be a leave on peeling mask, but it isn't at all. The product is described as an "organic peeling milk from Spanish eco-brand Naobay...like a start over for skin, with particles from the acai tree to remove dulling dead skin cells and brighten the complexion", so firstly:
The positives:
It smells lovely, and a little goes a long way, I could imagine this lasting absolutely ages. 
The negatives: 
There are no instructions for use whatsoever, I had to google it. Thankfully Glossybox had said to apply to slightly damp skin and delicately message in a circular motion, but I had no real idea how to long to leave it on for. I found a review that said 30 seconds, so I did the same and that was plenty of time. 


My skin felt lovely after using it, so I would definitely recommend it. It's got a light fragrance too so it isn't overpowering and can be used by men too as it isn't femininely perfumed. I asked Ben to try it but he declined haha.

Overall, I liked this product; the simple packaging, nice smell and consistency are all winners for me. Also, it came off much more easily than a facial scrub, (where the scrub seems to stick to every part of your skin for ages afterwards), so I definitely liked that about it.

Not sure I'd pay £13.71 (odd price!) for it, but it's definitely worth around the £10 mark in my opinion.
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Thursday, 9 April 2015

Couch to 5K Fitness Goals Fails

So, one of my New Years resolutions was to try and get fit. I know, I know - talk about a stereotypical resolution! But for me it isn't necessarily that I'm overweight, more than I have a sedentary office job and simply don't move around anywhere near as much as I should.

I downloaded the Couch to 5K app with good intentions and the first couple of weeks of January were spent chugging along in the freezing rain determined to get back on track. Then life happened.

Because I've been super busy the past few weeks, my fitness has fallen by the wayside. I still go to zumba once a week but the fact that I'm still knackered walking to the shop proves that isn't doing an awful lot of improve my fitness. I can't help feeling down about it and annoyed at myself for not being more dedicated.
So it's back to the drawing board, and starting from scratch. I'm trying to not beat myself up too much about it and just get on it with it instead.

Now the winter is on its way out and spring seems to have sprung hopefully this will motivate me a little more. 


Have any you made fitness a part of your New Years resolutions? How are you getting on with it? 
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Monday, 6 April 2015

Outfit Post: Oversized Black Tee & Fedora

This is my very first outfit post!

On a beautiful sunny day (although really foggy to start with hence my not spring-like all black ensemble!) we spent our Easter Monday wandering through the gardens and trees of a local national trust house.


I've been wanting to do an outfit post for a long time, so decided to take the plunge today, and I'm quite pleased with my first attempt.

I wore an oversized Topshop black t-shirt with a long lace back and batwing sleeves, with black skinny jeans, black ankle boots and a black fedora. Apologies for the wintry choice!

My ankle boots were an autumn purchase and they have been a great investment, they're sooo comfy with the chunky heel. I'm really into hats in general and I've invested in a couple of fedoras these last few months.


Boots - pull & bear
Jeans - pull & bear
Tee - Topshop
Fedora - Boohoo
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Saturday, 4 April 2015

Easter Bank Holiday In Photos

Happy Easter everyone!

Although it technically isn't Easter yet, I've been thoroughly enjoying the long weekend. After a dull start yesterday, the sun has been shining and it's been glorious...here's what I've got up to so far:


On Good Friday Ben and I went to Penrhyn Castle, a National Trust house nearby. It was a bit grey and gloomy, but everything still looked pretty and it was nice to get some fresh air after being cooped up in an office all week...


On Saturday I had a gorgeous breakfast out with my Mum and brother, so tasty! 
I then had a leisurely morning doing some vinyl shopping (I could browse record shops for hours) then went for a walk in the sun which was beautiful. 
Ben and I then went for a drink in a beer garden, nothing like a sunny bank holiday to get you in the mood for a daytime drink! 


Easter Sunday has been a lazy day spent relaxing and catching up on TV. I feel like a headless chicken usually, so it's been nice to spend some time regrouping.

Hope everyone has had a lovely Easter. The best part is that there's still another whole day off tomorrow! 
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Thursday, 2 April 2015

Baking Post: Lemon Drizzle Cake


Now, I'm certainly no Mary Berry, but back in the day when I was younger and had more time (or maybe just managed my time better!) I used to be partial to a spot of baking. Over the last few years I've hardly done any save for possibly one or two birthday cakes, and I'd completely forgotten how therapeutic it can be.

While browsing Bloglovin' I stumbled across Marjolein at Miss CocoBlue's post about a yummy lemon drizzle cake and decided to get my baking groove on.

I tweaked the recipe slightly, but here goes:

YOU WILL NEED:

225g butter (I used Lurpak Salted Butter, and wow it seems like a lot, but trust me it works)
225g caster sugar
275g self-raising flour 
4 eggs (recipe says large but I used medium and they were fine)
4tbsp milk 
3 lemons zest/juice (again the recipe uses 2 but I added 3 to make it a little tangier, it's really up to you)
175g granulated sugar 

The original recipe also says to use 1tsp of baking powder but I skipped this.

INSTRUCTIONS:

The recipe is super-simple.

Pre-heat your oven to 180c.

Add the butter, eggs, caster sugar, flour, milk and lemon zest in a mixing bowl and whisk until smooth.

Poor the mixture into a baking tin (I used a round one but i think a loaf tin would probably look better). I also used parchment paper to get the cake out more easily because I'm a massive klutz.

The recipe said bake for an hour but I didn't find my cake cooked all the way through in that time, so I left it in for 1 hour 20 mins, it could just be that my oven isn't as hot hot hot as it should be though.

Once the cake is cooked, leave it to cool and then add the lemon juice to the sugar and stir until it forms a thick paste. 
Make some holes in the cake and pour the paste over the top, that way it oozes inside the cake too and makes it nice and lemony. 

And voila! A lovely fluffy and moist lemon drizzle cake. Mine went down a storm, maybe a bit too well because I'm now getting asked to make it again, haha.

Enjoy! 

Here is the original blogpost:



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