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Wednesday 24 December 2014

My non-material Christmas Wishlist

It's the day of year which thousands of people spend panicking about unfinished Christmas shopping. Shop shelves are emptied and retail workers begin to lose faith in humanity. Unfortunately, having been in a full-time job for the first time ever, I'm one of those people who was beginning to feel stressed about having not bought presents for everyone. And it got me thinking: I really wish Christmas was still just about appreciating friends and family. It's become so materialistic, and to think that some people would actually be disappointed if they didn't receive a present makes me sad. I wish that one year I could make a pact with everyone I know that we won't be buying presents. Except you're bound to receive a present from someone, and they're going to expect one back. I do enjoy Christmas, but the present-giving makes less sense to me every year. So I was thinking about what I'd really like for Christmas this year. Things that, unfortunately, no-one can gift me.

1. That my sister gets the graduate job she has a final interview for
2. That my mum gets better and can start enjoying her retirement
3. That my colleagues in my new job will be just as nice as my current ones
4. That there be less fighting in the World
5. That all my friends and family have a healthy and happy 2015

If these things became a reality next year I couldn't be happier. What's your non-material wishlist?

Merry Christmas to you all and a Happy New Year! I hope you get to spend some quality time with those you love.
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Thursday 11 December 2014

My November Favourites

Sooo this one's a little bit late. I discovered some amazing things in November though, so I thought I'd share anyway!

Lush So White Shower Gel Limited Edition
Last year I picked up the So White bath bomb and loved it, so I spent most of this year in anticipation of being able to pick it up again. So when I discovered that the same apple-y fragrance was available as a shower gel I just couldn't resist. I love fresh, fruity scents and this one does not disappoint. It doesn't smell like that really sweet fake apple that some companies seem to be fond of. It also makes my skin feel really soft. I've noticed that it's a little shimmery in the bottle, but I've noticed it leaving a shimmer on me. Can't say I'm disappointed. I definitely think I'll be picking up a bigger bottle of this before it leaves the shelves again!

Glazed Apple Lip Balm by The Body Shop
Yeah, so I'm kind of obsessed with apple scent right now. The Body Shop have introduced quite a large Glazed Apple selection for Christmas. Since I was ordering online and couldn't test it out first, I thought I'd pick up one of the smallest products first just in case I didn't like it. Because this is 'Glazed' Apple scent it does smell a bit sweeter than the Lush shower gel. But since it's only going on my lips and not my entire body, I don't mind. I never find The Body Shop lip balms overly moisturising, but in my mind they definitely win the tasty, constantly-want-to-lick-your-lips category!

Essie Favourite To Fall For
I mentioned to my sister recently that I'd almost run out of my all time favourite Essie polish, Bahama mama. So I was very excited when she gave me this Essie duo as a gift, containing a full-sized Bahama mama and a full-sized Chinchilly. I'd never tried Chinchilly before, and a 'sleek granite grey' isn't something I've ever considered purchasing. But I was pleasantly surprised how much it complemented my skin tone. I'm sure I'll get a lot of use out of both of these through the winter months!

Galaxy Phone Case by Decal Girl
Most people that know me know that I'm slightly obsessed with galaxy things. This print, in particular. I have a blue galaxy rucksack, leggings, swimming costume, dress. And now a phone case too! My boyfriend ordered me this from Decal Girl when I bought a new phone. We couldn't find this image in their giant range of stock images, so we made our own. I love how high quality it is, and it's so pretty. That it protects my phone is just a bonus!

Peter Pan Collar Shirt from Zara
I've been after a plain white, non-oversized shirt for a long time. As a petite girl this is extra difficult, because I don't have the option of sizing down in shirts that are made to fit a bit baggier. I finally stumbled across this shirt in Zara and I love everything about it, from the peter pan collar to the strip down the middle which gives it just the right amount of detail. I think it'll fast become a staple in my wardrobe!

Have you tried any of these? What were your favourites this November?

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Sunday 30 November 2014

My Next Home Christmas Wishlist

Whenever I go into Next I'm always really impressed by their Home section. Everything is so tasteful and always really good quality for the price. I often wish that I had a house with minimum seven bedrooms just so that I could justify buying everything! But the stuff in store is normally just the tip of the iceberg. Since the home department is generally just a small section of the shop, you'll always find a lot more products on their website. So, after another trip to Next reminding me that I really do love their stuff, I headed to the website. And I wasn't disappointed! I love some of the new stuff they have in for Christmas, and these are just a few of my favourites.

1. Tree Shade - £18
Changing your light shades to suit the time of year does sound a little over the top to me, but the design on this one is beautiful and a more subtle nod to Christmas. I think it would be an easy and non-intrusive way to add a festive touch to a room :)

2. Glass Joy Letters - £8
If I had to choose one word to describe the Christmas period it might be this. Being able to spend quality time with the whole family is something that I look forward to all year. The silver-y, rustic detail on these glass ornaments is really pretty and I think they'd look amazing on the tree or hanging from the mantelpiece.

3. Morris Table Decoration - £12
Morris the Moose is a cutie! I love his colour scheme, and I think he would look great on the mantelpiece or a set of drawers (or the table, obviously). You could also see about slipping his 'Merry Christ-moose' tag off and using his as a doorstop for the rest of the year. Or just leave the tag on and roll with it!

4. Festive Spice Fragranced 3 Wick Candle - £8
I love Christmas candles. I think Christmassy fragrances are my favourite because they instantly evoke feelings of warmth and comfort. And I love the berry and spice combinations! This three wick candle burns for up to 40 hours and is in an amazing Fairisle themed jar. I know I'd be re-using that after I'd used the candle!

5. Xmas Tree Plate - £8
Never before have I wanted a plate shaped like anything in particular, let alone a Christmas tree. But the more I think about it, the more I can convince myself that it's justifiable. My family only has the one meal on Christmas day, and then spends the rest of the day eating all the nuts, biscuits and chocolate anyone could possibly want. I'm sure the snacks would be so much tastier eaten off a Christmas tree!

6. Stag Print On Wood - £30
I love the muted colours on this print and think it would work in pretty much any colour scheme. I also don't think it would be limited to being displayed only at Christmas time, so it'd make a cost-effective purchase. I also think it'd look amazing with the tree shade described above.

7. Snowman Cushion - £12
As a budding photographer it was the image on this that caught my attention. I was then drawn in by his happy smile and cute hat. I think this little guy would make me smile every time I caught sight of him, and the colours on it would be sure to complement all the other Christmas decorations.

Have you been shopping for Christmas bits for your home yet? Do you buy new things every year?

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Sunday 23 November 2014

Ten Things I Should Be Proud Of

We all know that it's very easy to spend a lot of time focusing on your insecurities. Wondering where things went wrong, and how best to make changes. But what we all need to do more of is reflect on the positives. The other day, whilst I filled out a job application, I realised that I was proud of myself. This was a revelation for me, as the past few years have played havoc with my self-esteem. I'm finally on the up, so I thought I'd reflect on what I'm most proud of. I'm making a mental note to come back to this post when I'm having a bad day. And I hope it helps you to realise all that you should be proud of too!

1. That I graduated uni
I didn't enjoy it, and didn't do as well as I wanted, but I finished it! I think I'm still too hard on myself sometimes, but I have a degree and now a job. Which leads me on to...

2. That I found a job that I enjoy
When I graduated I still had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I knew upon starting my degree that I didn't want to be a physicist, and I was hoping that I'd have an epiphany revealing my future career. Unfortunately that didn't happen, so I took a risk and applied for a job that I had never thought of, but had the qualifications for. Turns out that I really enjoy it and I hope I can stay for a while.

3. That my boyfriend and I put in the effort to survive a long distance relationship
I've heard of lots of relationships that fizzle out under the strain of a long distance. But through the power of Skype and train tickets we made it work for three years. And now we're back in the same city and closer than ever!

4. That I've found the time to continue my hobbies
University can be all-consuming. There are people who come out the other side with nothing but a qualification to add to their CV. As well as continuing with my previous hobbies I also took up pole fitness which I love, and am still doing weekly. I hope I'll have time for pole fitness and my creative pursuits for a few years yet!

5. That I'm making the effort to become healthier
I could be described as skinny-fat. My diet has never been the best (admittedly not too bad either), but I've never put on weight due to my metabolism. This meant that for ages I made little effort to do any exercise. A few months ago I recognised that this was the case, and have hence started looking more carefully at my diet. I'm also thinking of joining a gym (as well as continuing pole fitness), in the hope of improving my fitness.

6. That I'm less scared by the thought of growing up
Before I left uni the grown-up World was a daunting place. What if I spent my life not knowing what to do? Now I realise that things are flexible. And everything will fall into place eventually. If you're not happy with an aspect of your life, then change it. And hopefully one day you'll wake up and realise that everything is how you want it to be.

7. That I'm happier now than I was a year ago
This is mostly due to my circumstances, but still something that I've had to ensure. By keeping myself busy I've kept nasty thoughts at bay, and always have something to look forward to.

8. That I'm always hungry for knowledge
I'm a curious person. If I hear about something interesting I have to find out more. I'm on a mission to learn as many languages as I can, and I hope I'll never stop learning! I'd love to be that person who knows the answers to all the obscure questions at a pub quiz!

9. That I'm (almost) comfortable with myself
It takes a lot to say that you're completely comfortable with yourself. But as I grow up I'm beginning to know my limitations. I know that I don't have to step out of my comfort zone if I don't want to. My insecurities are becoming fewer, and I'm happy with the person I am.

10. That my family and friends are proud of me!
There's nothing more satisfying than knowing that you're making others proud. As long as they're proud of me then I won't change a thing :)

What are you most proud of?
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Monday 17 November 2014

Flamingo Gifts Review

After a short break from blogging (due to me being a grown-up now and doing boring/exciting things like getting a job), I returned to an exciting email from a lovely lady. She let me know about Flamingo Gifts, and I headed over there straight away. I'm always excited to find out about new gift websites, and this one didn't disappoint. Within minutes of browsing my mind had started making lists of things I just had to buy. I was kindly asked to choose a few things, and below are some of my top picks!

Orla Kiely Tealight Lantern - £8.49* (click the headers to find out more!)

I looove the Orla Kiely designs, but haven't been able to justify buying a new bedspread or rug just to quench my desire for the delicate leaf pattern. As soon as I saw this lantern I knew it was perfect. I love that it's quite minimalistic in design, but the holes punched in the side means that it's transformed when you put a lit candle inside. I went for the grey version as I've had my eye on a few grey pieces for my room, but it also comes in green and red. I know a few people who would be really pleased to own one of these!

This is another simple piece that can transform a room. I was worried that this might be quite flimsy, but it's really sturdy and not at risk of breaking unless you manage to jump on it! Helpfully I have white walls (which made photographing it very difficult), but this looks perfect hanging in my window. So pretty with the light shining through it!

As a candle fanatic, this gorgeous lantern grasped my attention straight away. It's mirrored on the bottom so reflects the candle glow and really helps to contribute towards that toasty, calming atmosphere. It's pretty heavy, but this means it would also work outside if it's not too windy (since it has holes in the top!). The zinc finish means that it'll complement pretty much any decor (at least it looked perfect in our unexciting lounge!) and it comes in medium too, which I'm sure will join my collection soon!

This has to be my favourite item! So unique, and it makes me smile whenever I see it. This amazing bee house is solidly made out of wood and bamboo, and is brightly coloured to attract all those honey bees! Since it's so solidly made, it is a little heavy. So you'll need a sturdy tree or garden structure to hang it from. Unless you want to just place it on the ground and make it a 5-star bug hotel, welcoming all. Hey, we'll let them off if they can't read ;)  I can't wait to hang this in the garden and do my little bit for the bee community!

Since I've just started a new job and have been introduced to the exciting World of the daily commute, I chose this one for the practicality. It has space for your travel card (which I keep in the clear side so that I don't have to remove it every time), and another slot for cards or spare change. This fits easily in my pocket, and also cheers me up with its amazing bright colours. When I'm waiting at the bus stop at 7:30 am on a grey, rainy day it certainly goes some way towards making the day beautiful!

Overall, I have been really impressed with my first taste of Flamingo Gifts. Everything's such good quality, and I wouldn't have an issue justifying the price of any of these items! I'll certainly be heading back for more soon, since I've spotted a few perfect Christmas gifts :)

How's your Christmas shopping going?

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Wednesday 1 October 2014

Mini Primark Haul

So this is a new thing for me. I love reading (and posting) haul posts, but I love seeing people model the clothes even more. So I thought I'd give it a go. Unfortunately I was short on time when preparing this post (it was a last minute decision before I came on holiday), but I hope you find the photos useful anyway! Next time I'll have a more interesting background, I promise!

Anyway, I wandered into Primark and was so impressed. They have some amazing things in at the moment. Fortunately I only had five minutes to spare, otherwise I'm sure I would have spent a lot more!

Striped sheer floral top - £3

I loved this and thought it'd be perfect for my holidays. And it was so cheap! I think it looks amazing thrown on top of a bikini, but looks great on top of a white vest too! It really makes the stripes stand out.

Pesky bikini strap! Sorry about that.

I love how the floral print extends onto the sheer parts too. Such subtle detail.

*Cue cringey posing* Game Of Thrones Tee - £6

I'm not normally one for buying book/film inspired t-shirts, but as soon as I touched this one I knew I had to have it. It's so soft and so comfy, like your favourite t-shirt that's been washed 100 times. I wore it on the plane and it was perfect.

I love that the design is quite simple too, so it'll be easy to style.

Floral collared chiffon shirt - £10 (I think)

This one was a work inspired purchase, since I just got offered a contract job for the rest of the year. Hooray! I love collared shirts, and this looks really smart tucked into a skater or pencil skirt.

This could easily be dressed down too, with a cardigan and a pair of shorts!

Harry Potter Hogwarts t-shirt, joggers and socks (£6, £10 and £3 respectively)
And finally, I picked up this amazing Hogwarts set for a friend. Everything looks so cosy, and for the cost you can't really complain. I hope she likes them!
Have you been in Primark recently? Purchased any new favourites? If you've done a similar haul post then please leave a link in the comments because I'd love to check them out!
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Saturday 27 September 2014

Black Milk SharkieCon in Mallorca

The title of this post probably makes very little sense to most of you, so I'll first give you a little explanation. If you've read my previous post about Black Milk Clothing (here) then you might be a bit less confused. The short version of the story is that the clothing brand Black Milk has a large online community that I've become very involved in. People that are part of this online community are referred to as Sharkies. And Sharkies are awesome. So when it was announced that Black Milk had decided to organise a holiday (or SharkieCon as it came to be called), I was one of the first to sign up. I'd been excited for SharkieCon for months, and it definitely did not disappoint! Here's a (admittedly not very condensed) selection of photos I took during the four days. I really hope I can go again next year, because I'd do anything to go back in time and experience it again!

Feeling on top of the World...

Sunsets are pretty amazing.

Jess' Black Milk rainbow galaxy leggings.

Trying on some of Black Milk's Halloween collection before the launch. Exciting stuff!

More of the Halloween collection. Black Milk are known for their printed clothing, although that's not obvious in this picture!

Yep, looks like paradise to me.

The giant pizza float!

Sunsets are ten times prettier when you have a view out to sea.

Issy's amazing flashing shoes. I need some!

A new t-shirt design that Black Milk are working on. Modelled by James, the company's founder.

Hooray for cocktails!

...and pizza!

Couldn't complain about the breakfast buffet either. Hello unlimited supply of nutella and pancakes.

Professing my Sharkie pride. The Birds In Paradise dress seemed like an apt choice during this perfect holiday.

Black Milk's mermaid pieces are amazing in the sun!

Sharkies boarding the catamaran for the Saturday evening sunset cruise.

Cam (Black Milk's Marketing Director) sporting a fetching hat.

My all time favourite mermaid fabric. Such pretty colours!

Being a super hero is a full time job.

Being able to relax with such amazing people was brilliant.

And the views were incredible.


Palma's Cathedral of Santa Maria.

Cocktail in a (fake) coconut!

The view from the sixth floor of the main hotel.

Amazing Greek food for the last evening meal!

The incredible blue galaxy maxi that I was allowed to borrow for the last meal. Thanks Issy!

Jess and I with James and Cam. These guys created the best company and community, and for that I am so grateful.

If people had told me a few years ago that I'd be going on holiday with 100+ people that I'd met on the internet, I'd call them crazy. But I did, and it was one of the best holidays of my life. The Black Milk community has really changed my life for the better, and I can't wait to find out what the future of Black Milk holds.

What has been your favourite ever holiday? What made it so?
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