Sunday, 30 July 2017

July Favourites

Well didn't July wizz by! such a blogger cliche to say it, but it's quickly come round to that time where I talk about my favourite items of the month. A bit of a mixed bag including, home ware, books, beauty and jewellery.

TKMaxx home wear mini haul

I have bought a few new items to go in my dressing area, seeing as it is now clear of clutter it is time to fill it back up with new clutter! that of course is a joke, I am now only buying items that spark joy/essential items, starting with some essential candles.....


I suppose essential oils count, so that is where these candles come in. Frosted glass, one white and the other lilac, both with gold lids and faux crystals on the top. It would have been nice if the crystals were actually crystal, but still nice nevertheless. The white is x and the lilac is lavender and herbs, both smell lovely but I am still at the "bought a new candle, don't want to actually use it" stage with these. So they will sit nicely on my shelf until I have got over newness, then i'm going to let the mothers burn. (that sounds harsh, but remember they are candles and I will be fulfilling their life's purpose) just being careful not to get burn marks on the glass so I can reuse them - not sure how I will achieve that, but I am sure google will have the answer. Both from TKmaxx for £7.99 each - they also had a turquoise and a purple, not encouraging you by giving more colour options, just saying.....

Marble slate

Another addition to my new dressing area is this slab of marble, I think this is supposed to be used in the bathroom as an epic soap dish but that is way to dangerous to have around my little ones. Grabby hands and little toes - not a great combination to throw a bit of marble into the mix. So unfortunately (smirky face) it had to go in my dressing area as a little pedestal for my perfume bottles, what a shame! I have them all lined up, stood to attention on the marble step, all willing and ready to serve. It is such a simple way to dress up your perfume bottles, and it doesn't cost the earth either, for £12.00 it has made my perfume collection seem like just that, a collection! rather than a messy pile of bottles in my drawer. It is also making me use more a variety, picking a different one to wear each day.

Amethyst crystal

I have never owned a big piece of crystal, I tend to stick with small palm sized stones that I can carry around with me or have on my bedside table. However I decided it was time to up my mineral content and go for a large piece of amethyst. Strangely enough I was thinking about acquiring a large piece of amethyst and a few days later in TKMaxx I found it sat on an empty shelf all on its own - OBVS for me! thanks universe. So I bought it, went home and cleansed it and left it in the sunlight. Hubby asked what it was doing sat on the steps outside - I explained that I was charging it - he laughed and then realised I was serious. He then said I had been ripped off for paying £12.00 for a rock "You paid that for a bit of rock?" - no my friend, it's not just rock.

If you are into crystals you will know that you have to cleanse a crystal and then charge it with sun/moon light for it to recharge its energy (although I believe amethyst is also self cleansing?) I am not too sure why I picked amethyst, I obviously need a bit of it. FYI - I was told recently not to put amethyst by my bed as it would interrupt sleep and can make you restless - so if you do have some leave it in a area where you need inspiration/an uplift

If however, you are more inclined to think like my husband - well its a pretty rock that looks nice on my shelf. just let me have my witchy ways, win win.

Clarins lip oil

I found it!!! yippee! if you saw last months favourites vid, I mentioned I had lost this, turns out it was hiding in a different handbag! teach me for my bad un-bagging habits. On to the oil, it is a fruity scented lip oil with a tint of colour, that leaves the lips super soft. Now at £19.00 I was a but dubious about this over glorified lip balm working well enough to justify the price, but it does, My cherry Carmex has taken a back seat and this beaut is now my go too lip conditioner. My first impressions of this was that it's a bit sticky (think Lancome Juicy Tubes) and I didn't think we were going to get on well at all. However, my lips are left in fabulous condition, the smell is lovely and the colour is a nice wash of orangy/pink. A great one for the summer heat (when we get it) but I am looking forward to testing this out in the winter months too - if it lasts that long. Overall, a bit of a splurge but it does what it says it does.


I recently got my ears pierced again (now have two at bottom one at top on one side) and I have been enjoying wearing small hoops and danglys, think TH style. I bought a few new pairs, again from TKmaxx, two silver gem hoops, and a small gold gem pair with a dangling chain - easier to look at the pic below than for me to describe them! As much as I love a good statement earring, this months I have taken it down a notch to the less is more approach.

I also got these two tone studs from H&M, a mix of silver, gold and black - simple design but still eye-catching.

Rimmel nail varnishes

I took advantage of a recent 3 for 2 offer on at Boots with Rimmel, I fancied a nude shade and ended up walking away with three different tones. All similar but oh so different at the same time (thats the beauty blogger coming out of me) I have short nails at the mo and actually prefer nude shades on longer nails but I am still enjoying wearing these whilst my natural nails sort themselves out (they are very weak at the mo)

The Miracle Morning - Hal Elrod

I mentioned this in my last post/vid as one of my current top reads (read here) this book really has been a game changer for me, so much so that I am currently filming a vlog of my morning routine, implementing what I have learnt from this book. If you are looking to get yourself organised and get into a new routine then this is a good place to start - it talks you through six different steps you should take first thing in the morning in order to reach your goals. Love it! more coming soon.


Sunday, 23 July 2017

My current top 5 self-help books

"Ultimately the greatest help is self-help"
Bruce Lee

Do you wince at the thought of a "Self-help" book? yeah, me too. But I have a confession to make, I have finally come to terms with it and I need to declare, that actually.....I love them! When entering a book shop, I head straight for the self help section to get my fill of guru. Standing there eyeing up the latest titles to guarantee happiness, I am a bit nervous to reach for a flick through, I mean, I am a happy/self assured woman, I do not need a self help book! Maybe on the surface it would appear that way, but inside there's always some pesky issue niggling away in my mind, I just don't want anyone to know that.

So what do I do to lessen the embarrassment whilst in the bookshop? I apply the LGS method.
L - Lunge in towards the book shelf, G - Grab the book, S - Side-step to the cookery section (That always seems to be next to it) That way people will think you are looking to perfect your victoria sponge rather than perfect your perspective.

Another method could be the double whammy - LGS, then book inside a book option. Y'know, hide your "Why don't people like me?" book inside a Jamie Oliver. With this method however, there is the risk of a book flap panic situation, where you get in all of a dither trying to be speedy. This could cause more anxiety than just plain ole nerve sweats from standing in front of the "Sort your shit out/get a grip" Self help isle.

Don't even get me started on spiritual books, that one shelf hidden at the bottom with a few select titles, where you have to stay in squat position to see them. Chakras, Crystals, Angels, Tarot - LOVE IT ALL, call me crazy if you like, but I always say it takes one to know one.

 If I do get a funny look whilst looking at this select shelf, I simply pick up a Wicca book and give them the warning eyes - y'know, like back off sista I know voodoo, type look (I totally don't but I like to have my pretend witchy moment)

The answer to all this palava? Amazon Prime. Even with all the exercise gained in the book shop, lunges and squats, shopping in private may actually be better for your health.

All of this got me thinking, what's really so bad with wanting to develop and introduce myself to new ways of thinking? Is there really a need to make myself feel like a but of a saddo because I want to be better? nope, there is no need, and like most things the worry is in my head - no one else is actually that bothered.

So to embrace my new stance on self help books, I have picked out my top 5 current self help reads:

Eat Pretty - Jolene Hart

I bought this from Urban Outfitters a few years ago now, it was amongst their small seasonal selection. I like to pick this up throughout the year to give me ideas as to what foods to eat in a particular season. It gives ideas as to what to shop for in each season, tells you how your body would benefit from eating those foods and also recipe ideas. I don't know about you, but I generally have a good idea as to what is healthy and what isn't, but I don't always know why they are good for you and what they do. This book gives more info on just that without being overwhelming - I just need the basics thanks!

The life changing magic of not giving a f**k  - Sarah Knight

I have already written a separate review on this book which you can find here. But to give a quick over view, it makes you realise that you don't have the time and energy to waste on worrying about lots of things and you have to spend your energy wisely. Only spend energy on things that you do care about, and the rest of it? no f**ks given. It details activities such as the "not sorry" method to help you on your, don't give a f**k quest.

The Miracle Morning - Hal Elrod

I am not a morning person. I like sleep. I need coffee. I need three hours to open my eyelids.

Then I read this book and it all changed. I now get up early in the morning and get stuff done (If I were texting this on my phone, I would insert a fist pump/explosion emoji here)

In a nutshell, this book suggests to get up an hour earlier then usual and complete six steps (S.A.V.E.R.S) before you start your day. This includes Silence, Affirmations, Visualisations, Exercise, Reading and Scribing. Getting into this routine of a morning has really helped me to get focused, achieve goals and it also sets the tone for the day. If you need a bit of a push start to get into a routine of a morning then this is a great place to start. A full review of this is coming soon because it has helped me a lot! it is post worthy!

Raise your Vibration - Kyle Gray

In comes the first "out there" spiritual book for you. This book details 111 activities to raise your vibration and become more in tune with the universe. Say what? yep you read it right.
If you are into Chakras, law of attraction and looking for inspiration as to how to increase your spiritual connection then this is a great read. If you don't have a clue what I am talking about and it worries you a bit, all I have to say is don't be scared! read it and you may gain some inspiration from it, you never know until you try!

Creative Visualisation - Shakti Gawain

This is the first book I ever bought that comes under the "Spiritual self help" category. I actually believe I attracted this to me as it appeared in a small selection of second hand books in the shop I was working in at the time. If you have read or heard of The Secret then it is along the same lines - detailing the law of attraction* and how to implement it into your life. Only this version is not the over commercialised machine that The Secret has become, it is more raw, taking it back to basics. It is one of the first books in the LOA field, and even though its my oldest book it still inspires me.

So that's my little current go to selection, I like to dip in and out of these books from time to time. I have been building my collection, and after my recent clear out, I have rediscovered a lot of old faves (like Creative Visualisation) but I am always looking for new inspiration so I will write new posts as and when I come across great reads (starting with The Miracle Morning)

Now that I have written this post it's not so bad, I have now outed myself as a self help book reader, stigma be gone! I have also have a video relating to this post on my YouTube channel which you can find below, feel free to subscribe if you fancy it!


*The law of attraction is the belief that by focusing on positive or negative thoughts, a person brings positive or negative experiences into their life

Monday, 10 July 2017

St Tropez - Self Tan Express Bronzing Facial Sheet Mask / Try on / Review / First impressions

I am a bit of a fan of sheet masks, I make no secret of this, in fact I often make an idiot of myself by applying this on Insta stories and make stupid faces whilst wearing it. Sorry I just can't help myself. (see vid below)

I am also partial to a bit of fake tan too, the subtle/take the edge off/give a bit of a glow type. I can't do full on tan, it doesn't suit me, plus I am not the best applicator (think tiger stripes)

So when I saw that St Tropez had launched a new sheet mask embedded with tanning agent, I was sold, I hot footed it down to boots and popped one in my basket (along with the one hour tan which was equally as intriguing, but I will save that for another post)

I paid £15.00 for the Self Tan Express Face Sheet (pack of 2) as part of a buy one get one half price offer across the St Tropez range here . I later found them on Beauty Bay that sells them singularly for £4.99 here

I will have to say from the start I am not sure how I felt about this mask, the idea in principle was fantastic, but then the fears of an orange mask left on my face was strong. The fear wasn't enough to put me off though, so after a previous evening of exfoliating/moisturising, I was ready to give it a try. 

The strength of colour you want is up to you, leaving it on for 5 mins for a light shade, 10 for a medium and 15 for dark. To test it out for the first time, I went middle of the range and opted for 10 mins to see what finish I get, a bit scary on my pale skin. 

Like other sheet masks, you unfold and peel away the protective film and apply to your face, smoothing it out as much as possible before leaving it to do it's magic (and wash your hands of course)

Whats the blurb? well it is supposed to give you flawless tan after 8 hours, with no tan lines and it also has hyaluranic acid in it to help with hydration to add to the dewy finish. 
After the 10 minutes, I peeled off the mask and massaged the residue into my hairline, around the eyes and down the neck as directed, which I guess means you will not get the dreaded tan lines. I applied this of an evening, went to bed and got up in the morning to discover.....

It had worked, nicely! an even tan, no patchiness and actually a nice colour. I will be honest I was expecting more of an orange hue, but I was pleasantly surprised. I did not have any tan lines where the mask ended, it was all even - I am not sure if that was down to the mask or the fact that I gave a thorough massage afterward, either way there were no tan lines.
It also left my skin fresh and plump, with no pesky breakouts, always a concern when trying something new on blemish prone skin.

Over all I am pleased with the results it gave, would I buy them again? yes and no, yes because they work well, but from a cost point of view it would not replace my current method of adding some Clarin's tanning drops to my moisturiser. This is more of a treat mask for a special occasion rather than for regular use.

If you fancy watching me try out this mask, I filmed a review which you can see below:


Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Suck it in! - Wearing a summer dress - Shapeez

"The joy of dressing is an art."
John Galliano

I think we can safely say that it is dress season, OK I've said it now! (cue the pouring rain) well at least we get intermittent sun which, in my eyes, calls for summer dress wearing.

There's so many that I have my eye on at the moment, too many to be precise, but sometimes I will take a look at one and immediately think - I love it but its not for me. Why is that? what I really mean is, I love it but my mum tum will be shown in all its glory in that one - NEXT!

Recently I have been trying a different approach, instead of instantly dismissing something I will at least try and if it doesn't work then take it back - that's what a receipt is for right? The key here is to try it on with different underwear options because it really does make such a difference.
For all of the ladies we look at and admire in their fitted dresses, I can guarantee decent underwear is a key player in the overall look.

For me, I have two main go to underwear items when I am wearing something fitted and they both SUCK IT IN. I do actually refer to them as suck it in pants, even though they are more like suck it in suits covering boobs down to the thighs.

The first one is a pair of M&S undies, these are the tighter of the two, borderline can't breathe but it does a really good job of holding it all in! one I keep for event type dresses (left in pic below)
The other is a bit more comfortable to wear, I was recently kindly sent a Shapeez to try - these give more of a slimline fit to smooth out the silhouette, but I can still move freely (and eat) in these. The main selling point here is that it creates a smooth back silhouette (right in pic below) you can take a look at their site here

They are by no means an alternative for the gym, I am still working on that one. But it does make me feel a bit more held in place, with no wobbly bits hanging free underneath the dress! nice vision for you there.

The downside to this is (well depending how you look at it) is that I am spending more on dresses, like this Zara number below. I whipped it on and dismissed it as I felt like I had to pull too much on the waist tie. However, trying in on again with the right underwear gave me a bit more space and it felt much more comfortable to wear. I couldn't size up on it because it would then be too big on the shoulder/bust area, the different underwear option worked much better here.


Tuesday, 4 July 2017

June Favourites - The Body Shop Honey Bronze, Skin Defence, Diptyque, Zara skirt and more!

June was a bit of a different month because it was holiday month. I went to Spain (Javea) for a week with the family, it was great! only now it seems like a distant memory.

It did, however, mean that I got to try out a few things that I was saving for holiday. You may or may not know, but I kinda have an interest in skin glowing products (you wouldn't think it to look at me, as soon as I step off the plane my colour goes!) so I got to have a little play around with glow enhancing goodies.

The Body Shop Honey Bronze - Drops of Sun Holiday Glow Creator - £12.00

I bought this as part of a three for two offer, this one being the cheapest out of the three so it was the free item. The tan coloured drops can be added to foundation or moisturiser to add a bit more colour to the skin. I like to add it to the Giorgio Armani Power Fabric foundation to tint it slightly, especially whilst I was on holiday, and it didn't affect the consistency at all. I also put a few drops into sun cream, again to add a bit more colour which I found worked quite well. I assume you could use it neat, I have not tried this, but it depends on how dark you want to go! I find the dropper application quite handy, and personally I think this is the best way to dispense this type of product. This doesn't contain any tanning agent, it is just makeup to add a tint to your current routine. Link here

The Body Shop - Honey Bronze Tinted Leg Mist - £16.00

Whilst in the Body Shop I also spotted the glow mist for legs, again this is just make up that you spray onto the legs to add a bit of colour. This is essentially the same thing as the droppers but it is a lighter texture which glides easily straight onto the skin. I actually used this on my arms too (and anywhere else that needed it) just to add the same colour, no reason why not! I haven't tried it on my face though, I think I will stick to the drops for that one. Personally I like to spray it onto my hand first and apply it that way, I feel like I get better coverage. Link here

The Body Shop - Skin Defence - Multi-Protection Essence - £16.00

This was the reason I went into The Body Shop in the first place (typical me buying more than I went in for!) I needed a facial SPF for holiday, a task I never like. every SPF I have tried in the past has been, heavy, greasy, pore clogging. This however absorbs like a dream, leaving no residue and caused no break outs. I really do love this! It's become part of my morning routine and I will be repurchasing it! I have written a post on it, you can find it here

Diptyque Roses candle - £24.00

I find Diptyque candles a bit hit and miss, and actually sometimes I'm a little disappointed. But this time it was different, and in comes the Rose scented candle. Normally, I am not one for rose scented items, just a bit too floral if you get what I mean. This one however is strong yet not over powering, it fills a room but its not over the top. I actually find it a very relaxing scent, and compared to the lavender one (which is my go to relaxing scent) I think I actually prefer this at the mo. It doesn't quite match my love for Jo Malone candles, but its still a winner. Link here

The Life Changing Art of Not Giving a F*ck - By Sarah Knight - £9.09 (Amazon Prime)

This was my holiday read, quite funny to see the looks I got when I told people what I was reading! but you know what? I don't give a f*ck! ha! applying it already! in a nutshell, this book reminds you that there are only a certain amount of things you can worry/care about, pick those things wisely, and the rest of it? well who cares! I have written a review which you can find here

Victoria Beckham Morning Aura Illuminating Creme - £68.00

OK so you know that glow I go on about? look no further because this cream does the trick. I am not talking about tanning, I am talking about an actual glow. This is a part moisturiser/part primer, which means you can wear it either on its own or underneath foundation. I like to wear it both ways, I particularly liked it on holiday when I wanted to wear minimal makeup but still have a nice glow. It is a bit pricey I know, but you won't regret paying the price (well I don't anyway) because it does exactly what it says. Link here

Zara Pleated Midi Skirt - down to £25.99

In case you didn't know, the Zara sale is on (but I bet you already knew that!) so naturally, I went online as soon as the sale went live and filled my basket in a frenzy. Once I had calmed down, I halved my basket, went in for browse round 2, and came across this beaut. Now if you are a bit hippy like me, you will know that some pleated skirts can enhance the hip area. I find that they can balloon out a bit and make me look even wider. This one however, hangs beautifully! the length is just right and the colour is gorgeous, so much nicer once I had received it. I feel this item will be worn a lot over the next few months! link here

That's it for this month, if you fancy watching the vid in relation to this post you can find it below:


Sunday, 2 July 2017

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up - Marie Kondo - Review & Applying The Magic

"Housework can't kill you, but why take a chance?"
Phyllis Diller

I'm not what you would describe as the most tidy person, I promise I do try, but I'm not by any means a natural. Use something and then put it back - yes that is logic, I get that. The reality? use it, put it down for a second, then just like that its existence has been erased from my memory, even though it is still sat directly in front of me. That is until I enter a room and can barely walk in because of all the non-put back stuff. Sometimes I feel like Dory from Finding Nemo, always forgetful when it comes to returning things to their home, but at least I can remember 42, Wallaby Way, Sydney.

Now you wouldn't believe me if you entered my house, but I don't actually like clutter, in fact I detest it. Yet I am a firm believer in "A tidy house, a tidy mind" - hence why my mind currently represents a NEXT sale (don't even get me started on the folded T-shirt piles in Primark - anyone who has the patience for that job is a saint)

So now that I have pointed out that 1) I am crap at tidying and 2) I hate mess, what exactly am I going to do about it? the same as every problem - read a self-help book and hope that the problem sorts itself out.

The book of choice? Marie Kondo - The Life Changing Magic of tidying - a book that was mentioned in The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck that I recently read. Anything with life-changing in the title and I'm sold!
Now I am actually listening to the e-book, mainly because I want to use my spare time wisely (on Instagram) so I listen to this WHILST tidying - get me multitasking. One thing is for sure, if you listen to something about tidying, whilst tidying, the likelihood of actually tidying is high. Try listening to it whilst sat eating cake - it doesn't work. Cake with bake off on the TV however - a different story.

So I am going to break this down into a few posts because I have not finished listening to the book yet, just hang a work in progress sign over your screen.

This is what I have learnt so far and how I have/am going to apply it:

- Make tidying an event 

 Y'know, get all excited about it. Instead of saying - "Woo Hoo it's Friday!" it should be "Woo Hoo it's the day I get to clean out my drawers!" excited yet? OK, then you need to think of it as a life changing event, after this mega clear out you will never have to do it again and will have mental clarity (her words, don't shoot the messenger). Clearly, Marie has never been into a pound shop because the amount of tat I accumulate from there means more than a one off blitz. ("But it's two for a pound, I only need one, but I get TWO! who's really winning here Marie?")
Joking aside, I am actually a bit excited about sorting out my socks (still don't get out much) it needs to be done and I do think the mental fog will clear a but if I sorted out my tat.

- Do it in one hit 

Don't think you can get away with saying "I will do a little a day" nope, doesn't work here. Blitz the muther, get rid, get it gone. Now it would be hard to get it all done in one day, but make sure you pick regular chunks of time to devote to decluttering.

- Does it spark joy?

Now here comes the tough bit, what do you actually discard? It is so easy to keep hold of things "Just in case" or "Maybe I would wear it again" etc. So the answer here it to hold each item and ask "Does it spark joy?" If you clutch hold of wet look leopard print leggings (still with the tag on) and they spark joy then keep them. However if you think "I might slim into them one day/they might come back into fashion/they are brand new/what the hell was I thinking" well, that's not joy is it - get rid. Be ruthless.

- Don't palm it off onto family

Apparently this is a no no, because you are just passing the burden. This is true, I know this too well because my mum does this to me almost daily. The majority of stuff I need to get rid of is actually her hand me downs. So she is not exempt from my decluttering - in fact this morning I handed over three candle holders she had passed to me, and said "these will look nice in your living room" With that I turned and ran before she could respond. Watch out - a box of junk is coming to a door step near you soon! (in my mind this also ticks the box of a random act of kindness too)

I have paused the audio at the art of folding, as a draw stuffer, this is all way too much information to take in in one hit. I am going to start by decluttering and then I will be back with my roll/fold techniques.

Bin bags at the ready, route to the charity shop planned, people lined up for "gifts" I am ready for mental clarity.


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