31 Dec 2014

The 2014 Round Up Post

This year I wasn't going to do a round-up of 2014 post - I thought I wouldn't have much to share. However I've read a few from other bloggers and really enjoyed them so thought I would do one myself. 2014 has been a manic year for me! Both in the world of blogging and personally. 

Through my blog I have had many amazing experiences this year. I was lucky enough to go to Bestival and on another occasion meet The Saturdays. I reviewed lots of products and wore lots of outfits and have really enjoyed my little hobby. 



I have also really struggled with my blog this year. I've had some comments, people have given their opinions on what I write and what I do in a very personal and critical way. It made me stop blogging for a while, feeling quite hurt and anxious about what others thought of me and I became very critical of my blogging. However with a lot of encouragement from friends and Sam, I thought about why I do this - I do it because it's my hobby and gives me a great deal of pleasure and that has been true since the day I had no readers at all. Although I do feel I owe my readers a service for their loyalty, lovely comments and hilarious chat, this is also my hobby and not a professional blog. I believe like all hobbies, whether it is baking, sewing or exercise, we shouldn't be criticised for what we enjoy doing in our spare time, but when your passion is out there for others to read it just makes it more risky that people will have strong opinions they think you should hear. I have started coming to terms with this, although I am still feeling a little fragile, and am doing my best to enjoy what I do outside of work. 

In my real life, I've had a huge year. My boyfriend and I moved in together at the end of March and we became a little family when we got our puppy miniature pinscher Teddy in June! 

I also blogged about losing my grandad Poppa in June and the 10k walk I did for Marie Curie in his honour which the amazing team at Rhodesian of Edinburgh heard about and raffled off a satchel for charity! I also went to lots of weddings, developed stronger relationships with my friends and family, including Sam's family who have taken me in as one of their own (thanks guys!) and managed to fit in work and a little holiday. 


Looking back, although there have been huge ups and downs, 2014 has been a lovely year and has been absolutely made by the wonderful people I have met and loved. 

In 2015 I am looking forwards to being a bridesmaid for two of my bestest friends, Becky and Hannah

potential dresses

I will also be trying my best not to get another puppy or cat, beginning the third year of my doctorate (hopefully...) and going on another holiday. I also will be looking forwards to hanging out with my lovely friends and brilliant family and hopefully blogging some more, as I have really enjoyed meeting other bloggers at events this year and hope to do more! Thank you to everyone who has read my blog, instagram, twitter and facebook. I read every single comment and love discovering new blogs through the community. I treasure all your funny tweets, likes on my instagram and support. 
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30 Dec 2014

RAVE Review: Boots Botanics Radiant Youth Microdermabrasion Polish

I love a good face scrub! After years and years of suffering with horrible acne and now the aftermath of spot-prone skin and scars, I am very self conscious of my skin and invest a lot of time, energy and money into it. I had been using Dermalogica Skin Prep Scrub but sadly it ran out last month and I had to get a new exfoliator, but was struggling to fork out Dermalogica prices before Christmas. 

After hearing about plastic beads in many exfoliators causing issues to our environment, I have been keen to find ones which are degradable and do not contain plastic exfoliants. The Dermalogica ticked this box because it used rice, but in Boots it proved harder to spot the goodies from the baddies. However I came across this exfoliator/microdermabrasion polish by Botanics.  


This is the Boots Botanics Radiant Youth Microdermabrasion Polish and it costs £7.99. The main exfoliator in this is pumice (as in from a volcano and used on your feet) which is a natural substance, and it does not contain parabens which is good news for those of us with sensitive skin. It has a lovely fresh smell, but isn't overly perfumed. It comes in a large container for your money and you only need around a large pea size to cover your whole face.

The exfoliator texture is very fine and very gritty. In reading other's reviews when I was planning this post, I read a lot of reviews which were very positive and equally some which were very negative about how coarse this exfoliator is. I am on the very positive side, and I think with caution, this can be used as an excellent, almost industrial strength exfoliator. It definitely has some scrubbing power which is good for those of us who suffer from blackheads and scarring, and leaves your face feeling very tingly. I'd definitely recommend this as a weekend or evening scrub, because if you have sensitive skin you can be left a little flushed for half an hour.


 From a month of using it once a week, I can certainly say the number of blackheads on my face have dramatically reduced, particularly around my chin and nose area. I also feel my skin is a lot smoother and foundation applies really easily after application, particularly if you smother on a really thick moisturiser after using the exfoliator (I've heard exfoliation helps skin "slurp" up more moisturiser, sorry Caroline Hirons if this is pseudo-science). I don't think it will ever sandblast away the deep scars from my late teens but it certainly has helped the fresh red marks from recent spots disappear more quickly. Overall I am super impressed and would recommend this to everyone who would listen to me.
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28 Dec 2014

Outfit post: Wintery Walks in Style

On 27th December, as we were all getting over the Christmas madness, we took our dog Teddy for a walk in his Christmas jumper by the beach and I used it as a chance to wear my Christmas presents! Sadly the low summer sun makes for bleary photographs but I hope you can see the outfit!



Teddy is wearing a Striped Santa Dog Sweater from Pets at Home which we got from Sam's mum.

I am wearing:

Amelie Jeans from River Island
Blanket Scarf/Cape from New Look at ASOS - present from Sam
Brown backpack from ASOS - present from Sam
Furry hair band  - similar from New Look
Winter lipstick - Sleek True Colour in Cherry
Ugg Beryl Boots c/o UGG UK currently on sale for £125 down from £245



A long time ago, I remember hating UGG boots but I am not shy to admit I have completely changed my opinion on them. I have the UGG Gershwin biker boots which barely leave my feet during winter thanks to their furry insides which are hidden by a tough biker leather exterior; and these knee boots are my new favourite thing to never take off! They have a fuzzy sheep skin insole and a sleek riding boots exterior. They are plain enough to wear with anything, but have a couple of buckles to give them detail and interest. They are also a good width - not too tight but not too baggy on the calf.  The only issue I have, being very clumsy, is the sole is completely smooth so I have slipped over several times! If you're interested in some gorgeous, well made boots which will keep you really cosy (and make getting up for work on a dark, wintery morning more bearable) definitely check out their winter boots in the sale.



I love the cold bright weather, but I also love getting back indoors and tucking into leftovers afterwards! 

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21 Dec 2014

How to do gel nails at home

Firstly, this is a dislaimer - I am not a trained nail technician.

Back in October I blogged about the research I had done into doing your own gel nails at home. After this I invested in a UV lamp, some polishes and all the kit and thought I would share with you how I've been getting on and importantly, how to do a gel manicure at home! I buy everything from eBay so it's accessable to all of us and fairly cheap - the whole lot cost the same as three professional manicures.

Firstly, here are the manicures I have done so far...

Christmas nails using gold glitter and OPI gel nail polish

Nude and polka dot nails with bluesky polishes

Plain old red nails with Gel Lovers from eBay (wouldn't recommend this brand, chipped easily)


How to do a gel manicure at home with a UV lamp (LED ones are soooo expensive I couldn't afford one)

  1. Remove all nailvarnish from your nails, make sure they are squeaky clean
  2. File and shape your nails how you wish, push back your cuticles, then take the shine off the top by using a 100/120 grit file to lightly buff the nail surface
  3. Using a nail sanitiser, remove any dirt from the nails. I like to use Gellux Profile Prep + Wipe because it sanitises the nails, and also cleans them afterwards. It seems to contain alcohol which is what's needed to prepare the nails for the basecoat too. 
  4. Really slowly, apply a very thin layer of base coat. The polish will glide on much better than regular nailvarnish so it's fairly easy to do this. Make sure it doesn't go on your skin as it will cause the polish to last less well
  5. Cure for 120 seconds under the lamp
  6. Apply a thin layer of the colour, again ensuring you don't go over the skin. If you do, wipe it off before you cure, and then cure for another 120 seconds. 
  7. Repeat step 6 until you have the colour intensity you want. 
  8. At this point you can add nail art if you wish such as polka dots. If you make a mistake, it will just wipe off without disturbing the colour underneath as it is cured. Ensure you remember to cure the nail art for 120 seconds under UV.
  9. Put a layer of topcoat over when you are finished, again a thin layer ensuring it's all on the nail and cure for 120 seconds
  10. Wipe over with prep and wipe again to remove all the stick residue from the nail and you have your own gel manicure! 

How to do a glitter gel manicure (buy cosmetic/manicure grade glitter)
   Steps 1-5 are the same
   6.  Using a small brush, buff some glitter onto the sticky residue left from curing the base coat.   
   7.  Brush off any excess glitter
   8. Apply a layer of topcoat (I have 2 topcoats, one for glitter manicures, one for normal manicures, because glitter will get caught in the brush) and cure for 120 seconds
   9. Repeat steps 6-8 again 


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19 Dec 2014

My Christmas Jumper (dress) 2014

I am a big fan of the Christmas jumper and every year for the past 3 years I have invested in one. This year I am getting bolder and am wearing this beauty from boohoo. This is the Niamh Reindeer Snowflake Jumper Dress which is £20 and comes in "wine" which is the colour I'm wearing, or black and white. It's an all-out "I love Christmas" dress!



This jumper dress is so comfy and cosy! I wore it out to my work Christmas dinner and I was definitely over-heating! If you were going somewhere cold you could definitely pair it with a black skirt over the top so it looked like a Christmas jumper. It is really soft and great for lounging around on Christmas day in or wearing to the pub on Christmas Eve! And Boohoo are still offering Christmas delivery if you order before 8pm on 22nd December so get a wiggle on! 
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4 Dec 2014

How I've decorated the house for Christmas

It's December! As this is our first year living together for Sam and I, we have become very excited about making the best Christmas house! So far we have only done the lounge but I will go around slowly Christmassing up the place and hopefully share it with you as I progress. I thought I'd share with you how I have decorated. Our theme was cream and gold, but I managed to sneak some red in too! 


Obviously we have a tree! This is the first year we've used a fake tree because we heard puppies who like to chew can get poorly, and our Teddy loves to chew! This is one from Homebase and it's 8 foot tall. I got it reduced from around £200 to £20 a couple of years ago after Christmas. We decorated it with white lights and the cream and gold ribbon and agreed it was probably enough, but I just HAD to add a touch of red. On top is an old family angel who I love. Also I put my huge IKEA star in the window 


plus the bauble I made! 



I managed to convince Sam to help me paint the chimney breast before we decorated. This paint colour is called Ming Dynasty from Valspar at B&Q. It is the perfect deep, peacock blue I have been searching ages for


I decorated the fireplace with the bunting I made, a garland from Garson's Garden Centre wrapped in gold and cream ribbon and battery powered fairy lights which were only £2 at ASDA


I also had a navy and red deer throw from Primark to chuck on the sofa. Yes my lounge colour scheme is royal blue and Raspberry. It works in real life. 



And finally I dressed our animals up for Christmas! Button wore and hat and Teddy wore a little jacket




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2 Dec 2014

#HillarysCraftEvent Christmas Craftings



On Saturday Hillary's invited me down to Taj's Tea Parlour in Brighton to meet some crafty local bloggers and learn to make some Christmas things courtesy of Make Do and Trend who run crafting workshops


The venue was in the deepest, darkest corners of the Lanes, between all the alleys full of gorgeous second hand jewellery, vintage finds and choccy-woccy-doo-dah!



Can you believe these are made of chocolate!?


It was a tiny tea room full of bunting, mismatching vintage tea cups and saucers and lovely looking cakes. A load of bloggers were all packed into the room and we got making.

Picture taken from Sophie of Sophie Rose Hearts

First up we made no-sew bunting out of one of the Hillary's new fabrics. We were given a length of rope and 5 pendants to stick to it which were opened up.


We were then told to PVA glue one side of the pendant and sandwich it around the rope. I quickly learnt that putting on a lot of glue made the fabric curl up so I didn't get the best result.


However, I did learn that if you have a limited length of rope, what you have to do is stick a pendant to each end, then put one in the exact middle of the length, then you can pop in the remainder evenly on each side of the middle flag.



We were served some delicious tea and tiny Christmas themed sugar cookies halfway through, although my mouth watered over the cake which was tucked away from us! Then we got crafting some more.


The next craft was harder - we used three different fabrics from the Hillary's range to cover a polystyrene bauble.

This involved having 8 squares of each fabric, putting a pin in the exact middle of a square, pinning it to the bauble, then folding it in half and then triangles around the pin (does that make sense?).



We repeated this with 2 more layers on top, and then on the other side of the bauble before wrapping the whole thing in a strip of fabric to hide the edges.


I think the effect has great impact and I'm really proud of the finished product. It was really hard to do though - curtain fabric was far too thick to do the job and it was very challenging to get pins in towards the end when the layers were so thick. I think this would work well with thinner fabrics or even paper.

I had a fab day and I loved meeting some other bloggers! A huge shout out to these guys for being so much fun, each who you should definitely check out

Miranda's Ark
Sophie Rose Hearts
Lilla Loves
Lola and Behold
Jennifer's Little World
Maybush Studio



 The next day I decorated the house for Christmas and got to put up my creations!





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