Time is Precious

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

'Time has a wonderful way of showing us what really matters'. 
Take from that what you will. Whether you've had the 2016 of your dreams or if you wanted bigger things, just know that there is always more time, you can change things this time around. Time helps us learn. Time helps us grow. Time shows us what is important to us.

Even though this year has been a happy one for me, I've also found that I've learned lots of hard life lessons and I finally realise that I've been holding back from myself for some time. I now know that it's okay to do things for yourself, even if others don't approve. It's okay to prefer to spend some time alone rather than in some crowded bar every Saturday. Its okay to put you first. 
There are also a few things that I regret not doing in 2016 and I'm not about to sit around and let that happen again. There are lots of things I'd like to do this year but not everything has to be perfectly aligned in a journal, there will be time for everything, whenever it decides to happen.
Do things on the whim. Go on crazy adventures and lose yourself in your surroundings. Be spontaneous. Laugh lots and do what makes you happy.

In this frame of mind I've decided that, instead of resolutions, this year I will be writing a kind of 'bucket list'; things I'd like to do before the sun sets on 2017, some are wild, some are not -  but they are all things that would make me happy, and I will make time for all of them.

I really want to improve my photography skills and abandoned places seem to be calling me. There's something warmly eerie about places that were once bustling with activity and are now left for the earth to claim. I've got my eye on Denbigh Hospital in North Wales as a starting point, and me and my cousin are planning a trip there sometime this year.

There is a lot of stipulation and negativity surrounding this procedure but this is something I have wanted done for some time (particularly since having Elias). People have always put me off with negativity and horror stories but I've finally decided that its my body and my money which will be paying for the procedure so I'm going to damn well do it if I want to. I have my preliminary consultation booked for January 3rd in the Spire Southampton hospital and I'm planning on having the surgery in December 2017.

I'm not talking the usual 'I wanna drop 5 stone by February', I mean I really want to take care of my body. I want to give it more of what it needs; water, vitamins, good things. If I lose some weight then fantastic, but its not my main goal. Most days I'll go all day without having anything to drink and I know that's terrible, but its completely unintentional. I've bought myself a water infuser bottle in the hopes that it'll encourage me to drink more and start giving my body the hydration it needs.

I'll be the first to admit that my blog has been put on the backburner a bit this year, but I finally feel like I know what direction it is going in and I'm ready to network and work my butt of with it. I love blogging and I don't want to lose out on the wonderful friends and opportunities it brings so I'm going to take control and steer things where I want them to go.

Ever since I travelled to New York in 2009 I've been aching to go back and explore more of America. Like most people, I would love see the big sights; to visit New England in the Fall or stand in the crowd and smile as the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade passes by, but the thing I want to do most is visit the country - Raleigh, Georgia, Texas. Expense is the main thing that stopped me so far but I would love to find a way to do it this year.

I absolutely love the theatre. Its so exciting to watch the curtain come up and the story unfold. The costumes and sets are spectacular and the singing is infectious and I would love to experience more of that in 2017. There are so many great theatres close by to us and I want to take advantage of that and see as many performances as I can.


I have been wanting to take up a fitness class for a while now, not just to keep fit but to help me clear my head and de-stress. After some research as to whats on offer in my area I came across Aerial Silk classes at TigerTone Studio. This always looks so graceful and beautiful and I think it would be such a thrill to (try to) learn. As with most things, practice makes perfect, so I am looking forward to dedicating some weekly time to this.

What is on your 2017 bucket list?

Online Shopping Tips + Tricks

Thursday, 8 December 2016

I am a girl who likes to shop. There's no two ways about it. But, I'm also a mum. I don't have endless amounts of money to spend on myself anymore so every penny counts when it comes to shopping for things I love. Like most people, I like a bargain, but I'm not into waiting around for steals to fall into my lap, so I've put together this post featuring my 5 top tips on getting what you want at a reasonable price.

I've found that one of the best ways to score a discount from your fave online stores is to fill your basket with the items you want to purchase, and then, shock horror, close the tab. Within a few hours, the store will panic that you haven't checked out and will offer you a discount on your basket. NewLook and Boohoo are serials at this. I've been offered up to 20% discount to complete my checkout - which saves some serious dollar. Its worth noting that you must be signed into your store account for the store to send you discount codes.

I've only recently discovered online outlets, but they are seriously the bomb! I mostly find them through eBay, really, but they have been a dream come true. The Boohoo eBay outlet is one of my faves as they list items which can also be found on their mother website for up to half of the price - and they offer free delivery on some items! I recently bought a bodysuit, a jumper and a coat through their outlet, which came in at £16, but would have cost me £32 on their mother site - stealllll! I also find the OhPolly eBay outlet a godsend as they offer discounted prices on many of the items found on their mother site, and their designs are gorgeous!

We all know that delivery charges are a major pain in the arse. But, fear not, there are ways to avoid them! I have found that visiting online stores at key times throughout the day and week really affects the delivery cost on your order. PrettyLittleThing usually offer free next day delivery before 12pm or £1 next day delivery later in the day. Boohoo are great for delivery offers, offering £1.99 next day delivery up until midday and free or £1 NDD from midday-3pm, they have also just launched a premier delivery service in which you pay £9.99 upfront and you will be entitled to free, unlimited NDD for a year.
NewLook aren't all that great for delivery offers but they do have a collect in store option which saves you from having to pay any delivery fee - you will have to wait a few days to collect your order but it'll save you £4 - in fact, many sites offer this so keep an eye out!
It's all about getting the timing right so check out whats around - it's worth noting, too, that you can usually get special offers on Fridays and bank holidays with many sites, and you can check Facebook pages or snap feeds for exclusive discounts - Gerard Cosmetics are hot on this!

Online thrifting is still relatively new to me, but I have found it to be a worthwhile endeavor. I often see something online that I would absolutely love to splurge on but just cant justify doing so. So, I take to listing sites like eBay where you can search for a specific item and often find it brand new with tags and labels for a fraction of the price. I recently did this with a gorgeous wrap choker top I spotted on PrettyLittleThing at £20, I simply typed the item name into the eBay search engine and there it appeared, brand new with tags for half the price! Score.
Even though its not strictly thrifting, I have grown an unhealthy obsession for ASOS, they offer pieces from hundreds of different online stores (as well as their own pieces) at discounted prices. If you're thrifting furniture or other larger items then its worth checking out the Gumtree or Shpock apps to find them at a bargain price. They may be previously loved, but you can assess the quality in person before buying or even think about up-cycling.

Sales are not strictly seasonal online like they are in stores, you will always find a 'Sale' or 'Clearance' section on your fave site where you can find bargain pieces that you can pick up throughout the year. Of course you'll find the bigger sales and discounts at key dates throughout the year; Black Friday, Boxing Day and the like, but its worth checking out the sale section throughout the year if there's something you just cant hold out for.

Happy Shopping!

Geeky Clean + MCM Comic Con 2016

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

A couple of weeks back, Dan and I attended our first ever MCM Comic Con, along with a couple of our friends.
Since meeting Dan my love for the comic and gaming universe has grown wildly. I had always wanted to attend one of these events; a place filled with like minded people, no judgement, and just, well, fun. Sometimes its good to be able to jump into a new role and be someone else for a while.

We read that around 80% of the attendees to this event go in costume (or 'Cosplay'), and we wanted in, so we started hunting for  costumes. After much brainstorming Dan decided that he'd dress up as one of his favourite heroes; Spiderman. And, I decided that I'd like to go as Alice McGee ; shes a dark twist on the regular Alice we all know, and she features in one of my favourite games - 'Alice; Madness Returns'. 

We arrived at the event and I was immediately overwhelmed - in both good and bad aspects. The location was packed, and I mean super packed. I don't like crowds, or tight spaces and this queue was both of those, but I distracted my mind by looking around at some of the other cosplays. They were fantastic. A Batman so screen-realistic I could swear he just flew in from Gotham. A Joker with a golden, menacing smile and a floor length purple jacket. A Princess Cinderella in the gown of my dreams. People were serious about this and the effort in these costumes blew me away.

After queuing and receiving our wrist bands (which totally spoiled our costumes by the way - not cool Comic Con), we walked through to the event. It was buzzing. People smiling, laughing. Cameras snapping. Music. There was a really special feeling. People pointed at costumes they recognised and smiled. We met some really good folk.

There was plenty of shopping opportunity at the event - everything from Japanese Kawaii items and food, to artists selling their original comic artwork. One booth I was eager to find was one I'd read about on the Comic Con Facebook event called 'Geeky Clean' - a small company selling handmade vegan beauty products based on geek culture. We stumbled upon it by happenstance and, oh, I could have stayed there all day; candles, bath bombs, body scrubs, lip balms, face masks. It was heaven. I reveled in smelling every single item, taking it in.

A little orange pot caught my eye, 'Oogie Boogie' body sugar scrub. It was part of the Geeky Clean Halloween collection, and it was just adorable. The kind gentleman running the booth invited me to open the tub and look inside; a gorgeous orange scrub topped with a layer of marshmallow like fluff. I was in  love and had to have it. £7 - a bargain. This scrub makes my skin super soft and I have enjoyed many a bath with it. It seriously goes a long way and the semi-coarse scrub combined with the delicate, fluffy marshmallow is just the perfect combination.
After exploring the Geeky Clean website I am so excited to give their monthly subscription boxes a try, at £15 for 5 hand made products they are a bargain and this month features a 'Suds and Spells' theme and looks perfect for the Harry Potter fanatic!

I am so excited to visit Comic Con again in May 2017, Im gonna have to up my costume game (I'm considering Princess Rapunzel), and I am hoping that Geeky Clean will be making another appearance so that I can take full advantage and stock up!

3 in 100 are affected

Friday, 21 October 2016

I've always been of the mindset that we are only given what we can deal with, and attitude is everything.

It was 11 years ago. I entered the Southampton Hospital with my parents and my sister and I went down to the operating theatre for a 8 hour surgery that would change my life. I was 14, and I suffered from a condition called Scoliosis. Badly.
This is a condition which affects the spine, which in turn affects posture and internal organs. Scoliosis sees the spine twisted and bent, in varying degrees. In my case, my spine was so twisted that one of my shoulders was raised higher than the other and I could not sit or stand straight at all. I could barely walk for an hour without having a crippling ache in my spine that nothing could rid. My lungs were being crushed by my contorted spine and if I waited much longer they could have been cut off completely, meaning I could have died.
3 in every 100 people suffer from Scoliosis, some wont even notice as it will be so minor, but some will have to endure the same thing I did. I never really noticed it myself, as a kid you dont really look for that kind of thing. But I do remember my mum telling me to 'sit up straight', to which I insisted I was sitting as straight as I could. We brushed it off. Time went on and, as mentioned, I could barely walk without some kind of ache or pain seizing up in my back.

Eventually we visited my GP, who diagnosed me with Scoliosis right away, but without a proper X-Ray they were not sure of how severe my case was so I was told that I was told that I was going to have to wear a brace (or very, very tight corset) for 23 hours a day, for 2 years, to slowly - and painfully - straighten out my spine. I was distraught. I was at an age when fashion was becoming very important to me, I couldn't bear the thought of wearing an ugly brace under my clothing, and having everyone knowing I was 'deformed'. How could I participate in school sports, go swimming, or wear a tight vest top to the movies with friends, knowing that everyone would see what was underneath? I realise now how shallow this sounds, but at the time, it was very hard to accept. I was too young to understand the real consequences of my condition and, to be honest, I was more worried what people might think of me? A 14 year old wearing a corset - what sort of ideas would they get about me?!

I was referred to the hospital for an X-Ray so that my spine could be properly assessed, and it was decided that my case was too severe for a back brace, and that I would need corrective surgery. I was scared, but relieved. In my young ignorance I did't realise what a big surgery this was or how long it would take me to recover, I was just thinking about how I would be 'normal'. My only worry about the whole thing was that I would have a nightmare while under the anaesthetic and not be able to wake up.

Surgery day came. I was checked into the children's ward. Nil-by-mouth. A dreary hospital gown. I sat on the hospital bed as I was wheeled down to the operating theatre. My dad by my side. Only now did it dawn on me what was about to happen. I'd put it to the back of my mind thinking that I'd worry about it when it was here. Here it was. I didn't cry, I let my dad do that for the both of us. A numbing cream and a small needle were placed into the inside of my elbow. Cold fluid entered my arm. I spoke to one of the nurses about Busted and held my dads hand as I drifted off into a peaceful sleep.

10 hours later I jolted awake, throwing up into the nearest nurse's hand, missing the sick bowl by miles. I was sick on a mix of morphine and whatever other drugs were being pumped into me. A breathing tube in my throat, tubes and needles in my wrists, in my arms, in my neck. Every time I swallowed I could feel that damn tube pulling on my throat. I wanted it gone. I was in intensive care. There was an eerie calm, only the noises of heart monitors and other medical equipment. The odd cough here and there.
Soon after, my family arrived. Only 2 at a time allowed. Smiling faces and tears. It was all a blur, and still is. I heard a nurse tell my parents that I'd stopped breathing and gone blue. That explained the tube. My mouth was insanely dry but I couldn't ask for a drink, the tube stopped me from talking. I pointed at a cup of water. My mum wanted to give it to me but didn't know how. The nurse showed her. Dip a sponge on a cocktail stick into the water, and place it on my tongue. It did nothing. I was thirsty. I decided that enough was enough and tried to pull out the breathing tube. The nurse saw and did it for me. In all honesty, that was the worst part of the whole experience. Having that tube pulled up from my insides out. I stayed here for one night and one day, I think.

I was transferred to a high dependency ward which was, to be honest, a waste of time. It was over crowded and understaffed. My mum and I stayed here for the night, although it didn't feel like the night time. Lights were bright and people were loud. A nurse brought me some jelly and we didn't see anyone again for the entirety of our stay.

We moved back to the Children's ward. A friendly young nurse in a blue tunic introduced herself. Julia. She was to be my carer for my stay. I thought my time on the children's ward could be fun; TV, visitors, time away from school. I was wrong, I couldn't move from my bed, I couldn't even sit up. I had a catheter. I stayed like this for a week.
Visitors buzzed in and out, gifts were bought and magazines were read. Many grapes were eaten. My hospital bed was surrounded with cards and posters which my parents and sister lovingly hung for me. I had a constant morphine drip in my arm with which I could also get extra doses with by the press of a button every half an hour if I needed it. Looking around the room at the babies and children much younger than me, and seeing what pain they were going through, I decided that I didn't need it and wouldn't use it. I never did. 3 syringes of the most fluorescent and disgusting tasting liquid I've ever come across 3 times a day. Dressing changes were dreadful - soaked gauze sticking to my wound and the staples holding it together. But, it was necessary. I looked around the ward again, and got on with it.
After a few more days I was idle. I wanted to walk. Julia was pleased with my progress and agreed, but first, my catheter was to be removed. Pain and blood as it was ripped out. My mum held my hand. It hurt. It really hurt. Julia and my mum supported me as I was shown how to walk again. A small walk up the corridor and back. It was nothing, but it felt like everything to me.
My nights were filled with hearing babies crying and my days were filled with hearing babies crying. It was heart breaking. I didn't care if I couldn't sleep. I was lucky to know what was happening to me, unlike these infants, some of whom had known nothing other than hospital surroundings since birth. On day 4 I heard something I will never forget. The 2 year old in the crib next to me was born with legs bowed inwards. He had pins and rods in his legs to help straighten them out. That day doctors came to 'tighten' the screws. The little boy screamed in agony. He was 2. He didn't deserve this. He was brave, and so would I be. How dare I complain when an innocent infant is facing things worse than I am?

Finally, I was allowed to go home. Julia insisted I take a wheelchair down to the car waiting outside for me, but I was adamant otherwise. Once we got to the stairs I regretted my decision. My legs weren't strong enough to take me down stairs, but it was tough, I was here and I was going to do it. I did. By the time we got to the car outside I couldn't stand any longer and my mum helped me into the car. It was hard. I could no longer bend from the middle of my back, only my hips, so getting through a low car door was a difficult manoeuvre.
I had to remain laid down at home, so my mattress was set out on the sofa. School friends visited with gifts, homemade treats, letters, even mix-tapes.
After 3 more weeks a home visit nurse arrived to pull out my staples. And, that's exactly what they were - staples. You know how, at school when they would use that tool to pull the old staples out of the display boards? That's what they did on my back. It was agony, but I thought back to that little boy in the hospital and I got on with it. My staples (all 57 of them), their remover and my hospital bands stay in my bedside table as a reminder to what I have gotten through and how lucky I am.

In years to follow I watched a documentary about the very same procedure I had had done. The surgeon would detach muscles from the spine, cutting the nerves, screw metal rods to either side of the spine and then 'add bone' - bone dust taken from another part of the body, which would go on to fuse with the existing spine and the new 'instruments' to keep them all in place. Amazing. I still have areas on my back, shoulders and breasts where I have no feeling as the nerves did not connect together again, but that is nothing compared to what could have happened to me if I didn't have this surgery. My doctor saved my life. He was an amazing, skilled man.

I guess what I'm trying to do with this post is to spread awareness. Scoliosis may not seem like a big issue but it really can be, so if you think you or someone you know may suffer from it, please, get it checked out. It could be nothing, or it could save your life. Or perhaps, if you are facing this surgery yourself then I hope this post has answered some questions for you. We are so lucky to live in a time where surgeries and medications are readily available to most, and even though I do have some limitations now, I know that I am insanely blessed to have been given this surgery. If you would like to know more then please message or tweet me and I will do my best to answer any questions.

And, no - I dont beep when I go through the airport security checks.

Dear Husband

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Dear Husband,

We've swapped dress and shirt dinner dates for jeans and trainers family meals, but you still make me feel beautiful. Thank you.

We've swapped late night drinks and dancing for evenings on the sofa watching garbage TV, but you still make me feel special. Thank you.

We've swapped romantic getaways for caravan holiday parks, but you still know how to give us the best time. Thank you.

We've swapped evening cinema dates for family movie afternoons at home, but you still make a big deal of it. Thankyou.

I've swapped make up and good hair for a pulled up pony tail and a slick of mascara, but you still make me feel like the only girl for you. Thankyou.

We've swapped late night baths for bathing baby and falling asleep early, but you still make me feel safe and loved. Thankyou.

I've swapped a flat tummy for a mummy tummy, but you still know how to make me feel good about myself. Thankyou.

You've swapped the latest car for a family model to give us amazing days out. Thankyou

You believe in me when I am feeling down and make me feel powerful. Thankyou.

You are patient with me when we argue and you show me a loving hand to make me calm again. Thankyou.

You put a beautiful ring on my finger and made me feel whole. Thank you.

You've given me the life I always dreamed of. Thankyou

Since getting married and becoming a mother and father, a lot of things have changed in our lives and our relationship, but you make me a better person and I love you more every day. I wouldn't be this person without the love and respect you show me. You've helped me to grow. I owe you everything. I love you.

Dining | Area 52 Superhero Diner London

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

I'll let you in on a secret. I'm a major geek.
I love comics; the daring superheroes, the exciting adventures, the costumes, the love stories. Even the comic itself; I love the feel of the pages, the way the inked images take me from excited to scared and back again. I can't get enough.

So, you can imagine my utter excitement when I heard about the new Superhero themed diner in Aldgate London, and luckily enough I was heading in that direction a few weeks ago anyway, so I had to make a visit!

Admittedly, the diner was a little out of the way. An 11 minute walk in the rain from aldgate west tube stop to be exact. But it was worth it.

We stepped inside. My heart pounded. Life size casts of all your fave superheros surround the tables, and memorabilia - some signed - line the walls. It was glorious. Like Planet Hollywood but better.
The decor is fantastic, a feast for the eyes. But how about the actual feast - would the food measure up? We were shown to a table which sat right next to a rather impressive life-size Iron Man (much to Dans delight) and were asked to order at the bar at our leisure.
I looked through the menu; superhero themed burgers with a single patty burger being named after the civilian form and the 'super' double patty being named after the enhanced beings we love. There was a good selection on offer; burgers, chicken, ribs, sides, shakes, mocktails - all the usual American favourites at prices which were fair for a London eaterie.
We didn't brave the 'Hulk Buster' - a mammoth challenge burger piled high with meats of all kinds, perhaps next time!

Being a fussy eater makes restaurant trips difficult but the friendly woman at the til was happy to note down all my 'leave outs' (anything green, really), and she informed us that there was a downstairs to the restaurant too. A large smile spread across my face and my eyes lit up, which she must have seen, as she offered to turn on the lights and let us explore down there for ourselves.
I crept down a flight of stairs under an eery 'Aslyum' sign. Dining booths laid out between cell bars. A dark atmosphere with green uplighting. The joker stared menicingly at me through iron bars, while Batman watched over my shoulder protectively. I felt as though I has been dropped into a scene from the movie.

We returned to our table for our food and were not disapointed. Freshly made and well presented on branded slate. We could see the chef creating our meals through a glass panel at the back of the restaurant and he even came to tell me that he'd added some extra bacon and cheese to my burger to make it a little more exciting.
No chips were served with the burgers, which needed to be made a little more clear upon ordering. No matter though as the burger was more than filling - and delicious! I'd travel all the way back for another; the bun was toasted to perfection, the chicken was fresh and moist and the bacon was perfectly crispy.

After a brief chat with a friendly member of staff we took some final photos and made our way back out of the door. Taking in every last sight that we could as we stepped back onto the sidewalk outside. I left feeling adventurous, valued - and full.
Overall, a fantastic dining experience that I can't wait to enjoy again - and I've got my eye on the Peanut Butter and Vanilla Super Shake for when that day comes!

You can connect with them on Facebook here

Youth is a Gift of Nature, But Age is a Work of Art

Monday, 10 October 2016

You may have read my post a couple of weeks back about some incredible handmade cupcakes I had the pleasure of tasting by CakeToppers - find it here. Well, they have made my weekend again by sending over the most gorgeous handmade personalised cake for my Dad's 56th birthday.

We held a small family gathering at our new home. Balloons, smiles, music, chit-chat - the ususal buzz of a get together. Of course there was a buffet too with all the favourites, warm sausage rolls, biscuits and crisps, as well as chicken nuggets that little fingers just couldn't resist. But the cake took centre stage - it's rightful place. It was admired by everyone, with many a 'will that be cut soon?' and 'I cant wait to taste that cake' heard.

Once 'Happy Birthday' had been sung and the candles had been blown out, it was time to cut into the cake. Generous slices were handed out and everybody was quiet as they tucked in and ate every last crumb. The cake was moist, spongy - delicious. It had a decadent, hidden chocolate frosting layer as well as the gorgeous, creamy icing on top. Guests handed back plates and grinned 'can I take a slice home, too?' Something I enjoy in particular about these cakes, is knowing that they are handmade, and hand iced, as well as the fact that they only include free range eggs.

My dad was thrilled with his cake. Everything from the personalised photo of another treasured memory, right down to the gorgeous hand tied ribbon and piped, dotted icing. There's just something so much more special about a personalised cake, it shows thought, it's inviting - and it's fun to cut it up and see which body part or who's face you'll end up eating!

The cake arrived at my home 3 days before the party (exactly when stated) and was packaged so professionally; double boxed and bubble wrapped to stop any bumps or knocks and wrapped in cellophane for ultimate freshness. There was an ingredients list provided too, to check for any allergens which could affect guests. I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the photo printing on the cake, it wasn't pixelated, dull or blurred, it was crisp, colourful and exciting. A message can also be added if you wish.

I am looking forward to using CakeToppers for our next special occasion, their selection of celebration cakes is incredible, and endless as you can choose any image you like! You can also connect with them via Facebook, Twitter or Insta for inspiration - just a warning, though, don't look if you're feeling hungry!

Why I Won't Wash My Wedding Dress

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

October marks the month of our 1 year wedding anniversary. A day when we smiled, laughed, cried, danced, exchanged promises, rings and hearts. It was the most magical day and my dress holds many of those memories.

Some women, once the excitement of the wedding has died down and the 'Thank you' cards have been sent out, decide to take their dress to be washed and pressed. Not me.

It's got that red wine stain from when one of our groomsmen got a little too merry and danced a little too loosely. It's got those dirt and grass stains from when we strolled though the woods and around the pond to have our couple photographs taken. It's got tears and perfume of loved ones on the shoulder from the many, many congratulatory hugs that day and it's got small pieces of confetti which were thrown with smiles entwined in the netted skirt - and I wouldn't want it any other way.

All of those things aren't imperfections to me. They are treasured memories. They are beloved. They are things I'll look on and smile should my dress come out of storage. They are things I'll revel in talking and laughing about when I show my dress to my daughter in law someday. They make it unique. They make it special. They make it my dress.

That is why I will never wash my wedding dress.

Double, Double, Toil & Trouble | Lush Halloween Haul

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Dan and I recently moved into a larger house and, for the first time in nearly 3 years, we actually have our own bath. Insert crazy celebratory dance here. So, as you can imagine, I have become a woman possessed with stocking up on bath time goodies.
Dan had offered to treat me to a few things and of course, the first stop on my long list was LUSH! Conveniently for a Halloween addict like me, they have just released their Halloween collection in stores. Score!

I could hardly bare to part with this and drop it into my basket as it is just so beautifully festive and deserves to shown off, but my majorly glittery hands said otherwise, so in it went. Sparkly Pumpkin is a bubble bar which is packed with natural, comforting ingredients like Juniperberry oil, Lime oil & Grapefruit, it is smothered in Gold Lustre Glitter and finished with its own little Cinnamon stick. Swoon.

It took me a while to settle on this, as it doesn't look particularly spooky to me. However, I have heard other bloggers raving about it, and the fact that it turns the water a wine colour and has popping candy inside swayed me to give it a chance. Lord of Misrule is inspired by the ruler of the pagan Feast of Fools and features delicious Patchouli Oil, Vanilla and Black Pepper Oil. Once dropped into the bath its turquoise exterior reveals a deeper, darker centre ...

My absolute fave of the bunch. This little guy is just so cute - and he was the last on the shelf, so I snatched him up before some other witch could. Boo bath melt is designed to give your skin an intense treat and is made with organic cocoa butter, Mimosa and Ginger oil.

I actually visited Portsmouth LUSH to get my hands on this as the Southampton branch was out of stock when I shopped there (FYI they re-stock today, 28/09/16). I knew I had to have this as it is the ultimate Autumn treat. Pumpkin features fragrances like Pimento berry and Vanilla, which combine to give that 'fresh slice of pumpkin pie' vibe. This bath bomb turned out to be quite the diamond in the rough actually. I was slightly disappointed at how 'washed out' it appeared on the shelf, but, once in the water, it is super pigmented and it makes some serious bubbles! Dreamy!

Its nice to see that LUSH have turned their efforts into stocking all branches with their Halloween Collection this year. It was so hard to get hold of last year as it was mainly focused on the London branches. This is a fantastic collection for the spooky season with something for everyone and now I am so excited to shop the Christmas range, landing in stores on 01/10/16.

' You Can't Be sad when you're holding a cupcake'

Friday, 16 September 2016

Cake is good for the soul. Atleast, that's what I believe. Is there anything more comforting than sitting down with a warm drink and a squishy, delicious little cake, topped with creamy frosting?!
I didn't think so either, until I was sent this gorgeous little duo by CakeToppers. Not only was my cupcake topped with that amazing creamy frosting, but it was finished with my own blog logo! How exciting.
When I tasted them it felt like I was literally eating my blog, and making it part of me - motivation to the max!

One moist chocolate cupcake and one classic vanilla cupcake. They arrived in a darling little box, perfectly wrapped and on top was a beautiful thankyou note. I absolutely think that the way a food is presented can affect the way you enjoy it, and CakeToppers got it so right with the way their cakes looked in the box. Sealed for freshness, bubble wrapped for pristine preservation during delivery - what more could you wish for?
I was unsure that the cakes would have that 'fresh baked' taste, being that they had to be delivered to the home. But I was wrong, so very wrong. They were amazingly delicious - and so fresh, almost home-made, tasting. We spilt the cakes between the 3 of us - although Elias got more of it around his mouth - and unanimously decided that even though we loved them both, the chocolate offering was the definite winner - and I'm not usually one for chocolate cakes!
I was also pleasantly surprised that the personalised part on the top of the cake, didn't have that typical sugar paper, crispy taste (you know, like the 'Tom&Jerry' ones you made as kids). It melted perfectly in the mouth with the frosting. In fact, I could really eat another right now!

CakeToppers have any easy to navigate website, which offers personalisation of cupcakes, or special occasion cakes. They also have their very own Insta feed so you can get inspired for your order. Plus, they offer Next Day Delivery with orders before 2pm, and you can even score 10% off of your order with my code PLV10.

Monday Motivation #8

Monday, 18 July 2016

'Time is luck. So don't waste it living someone else's life, make yours count for something. Fight for what matters to you, no matter what. Because even if you fall short, what better way is there to live?' - Gwen Stacy, 'The Amazing Spideman 2'

* This track especially motivates me as it is the one I walked down the aisle to at our wedding.*

Monday Motivation #7

Monday, 20 June 2016

'Oh yes, the past can hurt. But from the way I see it, you can either run from it, or learn from it.' - Rafiki, The Lion King.

We have all hurt. We've all been in a dark place we thought we wouldn't get out from. Whether it be from the death of a loved one, the ending of a relationship - anything. But that's something we all have in common, and the way you deal with these things can very much affect your life. It can be hard to pull yourself out of that place, but if you choose to dwell on it or pretend it didn't happen your life will never move forward. 
I'm not saying it's easy - when my granddad died I felt lost for a long time. I knew I had to let go which is something I hadn't had to do before and part of me wondered if I could do it, it meant more than saying goodbye to my granddad, I had to say goodbye to my childhood too and I thought I would never be able to accept it. However, I didn't want to live in an endless cycle of upset, hurt and darkness, and I couldn't pretend it hadn't happened so, I decided to read a poem at his funeral. He did so much for me and I knew that although it wouldn't heal my heart, doing something for him would help me to look at things positively and remind me what a beautiful man he was and will always be in our memories. How you choose to 'get through' things is so important and this quote shows me that you can either learn and grow from difficult experiences or get stuck with them and let them bring you down to rule a miserable life. Be strong, remember that as important as the past is, you cant change it, but you can be in charge of your future and how it looks!
I have decided to accompany this quote with a personal favourite from the original 'Lion King' score. 'This Land' is emotive and it echoes through my heart and lifts it. There are sadder notes and happier ones, there has to be a balance. That is life. The mystical aura of this track makes me feel like I am powerful and strong. I hope you draw strength from it too.

Updating the home for National Flower Week*

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

'The Rose speaks of love silently, in a language known only to the heart'

Delicate and dainty, the Rose signifies love and all things beautiful. I decorate my kitchen windowsill with them in tall, single vases for a nod to vintage elegance and to give visitors and friends a warm, loving welcome.
National Flower Week is upon us and there is truly no better way to freshen up and bring life into the home than by dusting it with blooms and bunches of various colours and shapes.

'When life gives you lemons, make a Gin & Tonic.'


Chrysanthemums add a sort of wild, rustic couture to my bedroom. Drizzled with soft gypsophila and tall Pussywillow stems and dressed with lemon slices, the vibrant colour palette is a real eye catcher. The square vase also lends itself perfectly to a table centrepiece for a family dinner, we'll talk about nature and our future plans and how good it is to catch up with one another.

'To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.'

Succulents and Cacti are perfect for the minimalist home - and the forgetful gardener. Water them once, or twice, a month and enjoy their laid back vibe.
Bringing a splash of colour to a monochrome bedroom, or adding a touch of life to a copper kitchen. Dress them up with beloved jewellery and reminisce about happy times whenever you cross paths.

 'When in doubt, add Peonies.'

Peonies are, by far, my favourite flower. Slow to bloom, they remind me that some things are worth waiting for - and they look fantastic when finished with Chanel.
Matched with a glass jar candle, these beautiful blooms have added a much needed touch of elegance to my vanity table, but they also work wonderfully dressing a bedside table.
I was delighted to open the somewhat oversized box from Flying Flowers when it was delivered by a young man with an infectious smile, and these amazing peonies have been working their magic on my mood ever since.

Fourwalls have truly inspired me this week, helping me to get my home in order and ready for the summer months. Their ingenious website is stacked full of jaw dropping images of flowers in the most amazing displays. Take a peek, you wont be disapointed.