Friday, 30 December 2016

A Letter To Me From 2016

Hey you,
So 2016 is drawing to a close and you're starting to drift into deep thinking mode, aren't you?
You're starting to dredge up lost memories from the last year (and the year before that...and the year before that) and over-analyse them, aren't you?

I know you are, because this is what you always do.

With the end of one year, comes the start of another - as one door closes, another opens - as they say. This is like opening a fresh new notebook and seeing the blank pages, pages that you can fill up in whatever way you choose.
And if you decide to rip pages out, draw silly pictures and scribble out some words, that's ok.
Because it's YOUR book, no one elses.
Your book to make corrections, to start afresh, and to learn from some of the things that made you so unhappy this year.

2016 was a mixed bag. Not all bad, not all good. 
Laughter mixed with memories, experiences, and lots of salty tears you tried SO hard to hide but couldn't escape from.
So many tears you could fill ten buckets.

2016 has shaped you, it's taught you that you CAN say no, that you CAN stand up for yourself and that you CAN make a difference. 
2016 has taught you that there is no such thing as a life plan, there is only time. 
Time can erase all manner of hurts, fears and trepidations. 
Changes have happened; they haven't always been good but they have been necessary. 
Life lessons have needed to be learnt, and they have. The hard way.

2016 is one year, so many have come before it and so many will follow. It's up to you how you choose to live them.

My advice to you though, is stop putting pressure on yourself. 
You've achieved more than you think, you just can't see it yet. Those tiny steps you've made are steps in the right direction. Those steps will carry you in the direction you want to take, and set you on your way to making the life for yourself you've always wanted, you just can't see it yet.
But you will.

All I ask is this: stop feeling so guilty; you can't do everything all the time. You can only do what you can, the best you can. 
Water your own flowers, stop comparing. It's destroying you. 
Stop tearing yourself to shreds because you still don't feel like you know what you want to do with your life, or because your journey hasn't taken the same path it has for your friends.
All you can do is take a deep breath, realise all that you HAVE achieved, and keep moving forward. 

Oh, and stop trying to please people. Please yourself sometimes.
Don't let social media rule you, make your own rules.
(A little time away won't kill you)

You know who you are inside, you've always known. You've allowed your edges to get worn down to shape you into something you know you're not. 
Don't let that happen.

Sincerely,
2016. 
 
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Thursday, 29 December 2016

FitJewels - FitBit Jewellery

In this current day and age I think so many of us are so much more health conscious than ever before, and with this has come of the rise of the fitness tracker. 
Mine is never off my wrist, and I'm more than just a little bit obsessed with tracking my steps and heart rate throughout the day. Although they serve a purpose they don't always look the prettiest and I must admit there are times when I feel a bit self conscious that my rubber band doesn't go with my outfit! 
As vain as that may sound, fitness trackers are simply not designed to look stylish, and if you have an event like a night out or a wedding, leaving it off can mess up your steps/calculations for the day which isn't ideal, particularly if you're training.

With that in mind, it's a godsend that you're now able to buy accessories for your fitness tracker to help pretty it up. FitJewels design a range of jewellery that are fully compatible with many leading fitness trackers including Fitbit (Alta/Flex/One), Misfit and Jawbone - meaning you can track your goals and wear that killer outfit at the same time.
To wear with my Flex, I opted for the FUSION bracelet* in gold plated, and black and gold leather. The bands are stylish, and the fact you're wearing a Fitbit can be easily hidden; simply remove the chip and slot it inside the metal cage and it gives the appearance of simply being a bracelet. 
In fact, it can be worn with or without the tracker, as shown in the photos below.



The bands fasten securely with a clasp, and you can even still see the lights from the Flex's display, meaning you can still monitor your activity. As the bands are made from leather, they don't rub or feel sticky like the rubber bands can - nor do they feel overly chunky or heavy whilst on.
I've been wearing my Flex with one or the other of these bands most days since I've had them, and they really are so discreet, they definitely just look like jewellery and I love how versatile they are.

Having a pretty alternative to my bright green rubber band has revolutionised my life!

*these items were sent to me for review purposes but all opinions are my own.
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Tuesday, 27 December 2016

What I Got For Christmas

Hi lovelies!
I hope you all had a fabulous Christmas of eating, drinking and being merry! 
I was in two minds about this post as I know not everyone is fortunate enough to be spoilt at Christmas, or perhaps don't even celebrate it, but I thought that as I love being nosy and seeing what other bloggers got from Santa, I would pop one up of my own! I didn't really ask for anything specific this year so all my gifts were surprises, but I have been moaning for a while that I never need a single item of clothing or make up again for as long as I live...so luckily my groaning drawers can rest easy...

Now this isn't a list of every single item I got, nor have I linked to any specific items as I didn't feel comfortable looking up prices of gifts (or want to brag)...but here's a selection of some of the bits and bobs I was lucky enough to get this Christmas:
I absolutely love any excuse to put on my cosy knits, and this long scarf and woollen mittens from Fat Face fit the bill perfectly. I've already worn them out for a Christmas Day walk and can vouch for how warm and comfy they are.
Is it even Christmas if you don't get cosy new slippers?! I absolutely love this pair of woollen and fur moccasins that have been keeping my toes toasty all over the festive period - they're so comfy! 
I fell in love with this quirky Betsey Johnson clutch bag as soon as I saw it, looks like my Mum was observant that day! I love love love a statement bag and have a few bits by Betsey already, I'm a sucker for her kooky style.
Perfume-wise I did really well this Christmas, Ma Vie by Hugo Boss is one of my absolute favourite scents and I always try and have a bottle on the go. I'd just finished my last one, and this really is the perfect daytime scent, plus the extra handbag size is perfect for popping in my bag. 
CK In2U by Calvin Klein is another perfume I've had before and loved, it's so fresh smelling and perfect for summer. Luckily this is a 100ml bottle meaning it'll last me for ages!
I also got this gorgeous Paul Costelloe purse which I love - I have one of his bags already and they're beautifully made, I love how simple and stylish this is.
One of my favourite gifts this year was this beautiful silver bar bracelet from Not On The High Street - it's so delicate and pretty, and best of all (though you can't see from the photo) it's been engraved with lyrics from my favourite Muse song, which is just so incredibly thoughtful and unique! I love it, and it's barely been off my wrist so far!
This lovely clutch bag is another statement item that I can't wait to use on my next night out, and it's the perfect size for putting all my junk in!
Christmas just wouldn't be Christmas without Lush - and a friend kindly bought me the 'Cosmic' gift set which included 'Intergalactic' and 'Twilight', not like I needed any excuse to run a bath!
Last but not least, a few of my other lovely gifts included this set of fragrances from my girl crush SJP that I can't wait to use because I seriously couldnt love that woman any more, the Holy Grail of Christmas - a DARK chocolate orange (my absolute favourite!), a Yankee Candle to add to my ever-growing collection, and this pretty festive set from Baylis & Harding.

As you can see I'm feeling like a very lucky and thoroughly spoilt girl this Christmas. 
What did Santa bring you?

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Saturday, 24 December 2016

Portmeirion Christmas Market

Happy Christmas Eve!
As a child this was always my favourite day of the year, filled with anticipation for the day ahead which was always over too quickly. Even now as an adult I love it, and with it falling on a Saturday this year (meaning no work) it's made it extra sweet.

Before I digress, a few weeks ago I headed to the Christmas Market at Portmeirion; a beautiful and unique Italianate Village about an hour from where I live. I'm so very lucky to live where I do, with surroundings as beautiful as these right on my doorstep!

The sun was shining and the place was bustling with food, drinks, crafts, home-made jewellery and live music on every corner. We were spoilt for choice and the whole atmosphere was so festive and welcoming; a truly lovely way to spend a day.


All that's left for me to say is that I wish you all a truly happy and magical day. 
Merry Christmas x




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Friday, 23 December 2016

Wildwood

A couple of weeks ago some friends and I decided to try out the new Wildwood restaurant that had opened in Llandudno. Wildwood wasn't a chain I was familiar with before, but a quick browse of their website showed they have loads of branches, particularly down in the south, and many of these include a cinema. Sadly ours is one of the few not to have a cinema, which is a real shame as that would have been such a unique selling point for this area, with nothing else like it.
Needless to say, we were really impressed with this place regardless.
The decor is very 'now' - a cool industrial style space with marble tabletops, exposed wood panelling and gold fittings. Very modern and aesthetically pleasing! The restaurant itself is airy, large and spacious.
The service was also really good considering it was newly opened and also very busy as it was a Friday night.
Food wise we all went for burgers, though I was really torn between that and having a pizza.
My two friends had a lamb burger with feta guacamole and pesto, and a chicken burger with buffalo mozzarella and bacon. I settled for the grilled mushroom and halloumi burger which was absolutely delicious! It was definitely the lightest option too as my friends were so full after theirs they struggled to finish. Portion size was good, with the meals being served on a tin tray.
We decided to go for a dessert too and after much deliberation I settled for the hot chocolate brownie with mint choc chip ice-cream, which was melt in the mouth good! My friends choices of chocolate honeycomb fudgecake and eton mess sundae also looked delicious, though I think I had the best option!
I really loved this place though and can't wait to go back and try a few other dishes.

Have you ever eaten at Wildwood?
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Monday, 19 December 2016

Recent Beauty Favourites

I get a bit faddy with new beauty buys; I can go for months on end without buying a thing (good job I'm not a beauty blogger eh?) and the other times I start buying and then can't stop.

I love browsing the beauty section in TK Maxx because although they're sometimes a bit hit and miss, other times you truly do get some gems.
When I over-use a product it's usually because I've fallen in love with it and can't get enough, which is the case for all of these faves. I got them all on the same trip, and I think I definitely bagged some winners.

This is my current obsession, I found it on the off-chance while browsing the hair care and am now absolutely kicking myself for not picking up more than one. That's the worst thing about TK Maxx, you see something you love and then it's never there again! This smells so good and is jam packed full of vitamins and minerals so my hair feels soft, looks glossy and smells amazing.
I love this spray for making loose beachy waves. I'm definitely not into tight ringlet curls and after spending years avoiding even the hint of a curl, I've now embraced the loose wave. A little goes a long way and I spritz it through my hair just after curling to loose it up a little. 
OK, so I didn't buy all of these at once, but I picked up the broccoli and tomato masks and LOVED them. I absolutely love Korean sheet masks and these are particularly amazing so I bought in bulk from Amazon. I think I got 12 for about £15 which I thought was pretty good value - I'm already excited to try the red wine!

Have you tried any of my favourites?
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Saturday, 17 December 2016

The Snowman Tour & Live Orchestra


I'm a massive fan of Christmas, and anyone who knows me knows that I absolutely love 'The Snowman' - it's definitely up there with my top Christmas films and that musical score gives me goosebumps every time!
So when I heard that Carrot Productions were going on tour and putting on performances of 'The Snowman' with a live orchestra I just knew I had to experience it. I honestly couldn't think of anything more festive, and with it being shown in the beautiful Chester Cathedral I knew it would add to the effect.

Not surprisingly the event sold out quickly, and last weekend we headed to Chester and eagerly took our seats. First of all we had a short film of Cinderella which if I'm perfectly honest I thought was a little unnecessary, although I can understand that the organisers would want to give people their money's worth as 'The Snowman' is only 20 minutes long. 

When 'The Snowman' came on the air was filled with anticipation, the orchestra were absolutely superb and the location really helped make the experience even more magical. Hearing 'Walking In The Air' performed live made the hairs on my arms stand on end, although in all honesty every piece of music they performed was amazing and really added to the film.

As usual I was in bits when it ended (no matter how many times I see it, it still breaks my heart!) and we left the Cathedral to find all of Chester lit up with twinkling Christmas lights, which definitely took me back to that feeling of being a little girl at Christmas all over again!

Do you like 'The Snowman'?

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Sunday, 4 December 2016

Why It's Ok To Be The Underdog


Christine McVie - image taken from Pinterest
I often feel like modern life has become a competition; we're all constantly striving to be the very best versions of ourselves that we can be. I'm guilty of it too; forever beating myself up for not EVER being the person who 'has it all'.

We all see these images of perfection where we now see anything less as being a total failure; we have to be the best, the prettiest, the most successful. But sometimes, I don't want to be those things. I want to be the underdog.
For me, there is something striking about NOT having to always be the best in life, and instead being understated about things. Blending into the background isn't always a bad thing.
While being a total wallflower admittedly isn't likely to get you far, having the cool, blasé edge of someone who isn't absolutely desperate for fame and success is way more attractive in my eyes.
I really do think there are so many people out there who don't feel the need to force themselves into the confining little box of 'success' just to be happy. 

We need to stop putting so much pressure on ourselves and instead just BE ourselves. Being happy with your lot isn't a failing, and it's just as easy to pursue your passion quietly and modestly as it is to be the focal point.

The other night I was driving home and blasting a little bit of Fleetwood Mac out in the car and it made me think how everyone always raved about Stevie Nicks, who's boho fashion and distinctive voice were synonymous with the bands image. But happily there in the background on keyboards was Christine McVie; always understated, totally talented, achingly cool and even now looking incredible having maintained her timeless style (she also penned most of their best songs, IMO)

Christine was happy to let someone else take centre stage, as coolly confident in her own abilities to not need to be the main star, the sex object, the poster girl. Just doing doing her thang and loving it.

So in a world of Stevie's, be a Christine.
Being the underdog is so much more fun.
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Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Home Pamper Sessions


Now that the cold weather is upon us, one of my absolute favourite things to do of an evening is a little home pamper. Giving yourself a little TLC doesn't have to cost spa prices, and there's nothing that a little 'me-time' can't fix.

I like to take my make-up off and tie my hair back, then run a hot Lush bath with loads of bubbles. While the water is running I get some clean PJ's and pop them on the radiator to warm while I'm soaking (I know, such a granny!)
My next step is to put on a hair mask, at the moment I'm loving the Spirulina and Avocado Oil mask by Organik Botanik Australia that I picked up recently, it smells amazing and is packed full of nutrients that my hair really needs now I'm back to the bleach. There was also a coconut oil one that I'm kicking myself for not picking up!

Once I'm safely inside the bath I put on a Korean sheet mask. I'm so over clay masks now as I absolutely hate having to rinse them off my face and hairline (I always miss bits!) I picked up loads from Innisfree a while ago that worked out really cheaply in bulk from Amazon. They really do make my skin feel incredible and really glowy, and as they're gentle they never sting. Even though my sheet mask stash is getting a little out of hand, I also picked up two by Tony Moly (Broccoli and Tomato) that are amazing, and totally joining my collection very soon. 

After this I lie back and relax, either with a good book or with Netflix (at the moment I'm loving 'The Crown') before finishing off my pamper with a generous amount of body lotion, putting on my warm PJ's and getting into bed. 

Do you like a home pamper session?

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Sunday, 27 November 2016

Fat Face Winter Wishlist

It's no secret by now that I'm a teensy bit obsessed with Fat Face, right?
I absolutely adore almost everything they bring out, and the new winter range is no exception. I was having a browse through the new catalogue the other night, and these are just a few of the things I'd love Santa to bring me:

I love lounge wear, there's no better feeling than coming home and getting changed into some super comfy clothes, and these pants look so soft and cosy. 

A new gilet has been on my wishlist for a while, and this one is exactly what I've been looking for. I love it in the shade 'cumin' as it's a little bit different, and also really perfect for this time of year. I love that it's got a removeable hood and is fleece lined too!

I'm obsessed with hoodies and practically live in them at home, This one has a built in snood which makes it look all the more snuggly, and perfect with lounge pants.

These slippers look so cute and cosy, and they're a fraction of the price of Ugg slippers (which they remind me of) I have weird heels, boot slippers never stay on my feet for some reason, so these slip ons would be perfect for keeping my toes warm!

I love a simple roll neck, they look so good with jeans and layered underneath dresses, gilets, cardigans etc. Plus they're always really cosy and warm! I love this boyfriend fit one, it's casual but still smart enough for work.

What do you think of my picks?


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Thursday, 24 November 2016

Renaissance Barcelona Fira Hotel

One of my favourite things in the world is trying out new hotels, after all this is the main reason I decided to start blogging, as I've always loved writing hotel reviews. 
As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I went away for a little break to Barcelona and while there we stayed at the Renaissance Barcelona Fira Hotel; which is without a doubt one of the most stunning hotels I've ever stayed in.

I've stayed at a couple of different Renaissance hotels in the past, and without being biased they're a chain I particularly love, especially after being invited to write about their Rlife Live Event last year.
When browsing for a hotel to stay in in Barcelona, as soon as I came across this one I knew it would be a safe bet.

The hotel is situated in the L'Hospitalet de Llobregat area of the city, and is a 5 minute walk to the Europa-Fira metro station, which makes accessing the city centre incredibly simple. It's the perfect balance because you're slightly out of the centre of town while still being near enough to be there in 10 minutes.
Onto the hotel itself, the decor is absolutely beautiful. Everything is completely white, which although may sound a bit stark, it looks incredibly modern and stylish, as well as very clean.

The hotel has several stand-out features: one is the window thats carved into the wall in the shape of a leaf (all the windows are the same shape and when you look at hotel from the outside, it gives the appearance of being covered in palm leaves!)
The second is that the corridors, stairways and lifts are all actually outside, which is something I've never seen in a hotel and is hard to explain without seeing for yourself (but can be seen in the pictures below). All the stairwells are filled with plants and greenery so it gives the impression of being a giant botanical garden!

As soon as you walk into the lobby, you feel like you're stepping into luxury, but despite that it feels welcoming and not at all stuffy. The lobby has a mirrored roof, comfy leather chairs and the coolest (and most eclectic) collection of coffee table books I think I've ever seen! I wanted to take them all home with me and start my own library.
We (obviously) sampled some cocktails at the bar during our trip too, and as expected they were delicious.
In terms of facilities, the hotel also has a jacuzzi and a rooftop pool. I was so disappointed that we missed it by one day (it closes for winter on October 31st and we arrived on the 1st) as I really wanted to check the stunning panoramic sunset from the roof!

The food and drink at the hotel was also incredible, there was so much choice for breakfast including fresh fruit, pastries, bread and cheese, and hot cooked items. I had a fresh omelette every morning and it didn't disappoint!
On one evening we ate at the 'Palmer' restaurant which was lovely with fabulous service. I had the hake supreme with artichokes parmentiere and lobster sauce, followed by the chocolate coulant - both were amazing!

All in all I really couldn't rate this hotel highly enough, every aspect of our stay was brilliant and we didn't want to leave! It's ideally situated for any trip to Barcelona and I'd definitely stay there again!

Have you ever stayed at this hotel?
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