A blog for fashion, beauty, hair, cosmetics and lifestyle

16 Feb 2015

My Weekend Away in Tunbridge Wells

This weekend we decided to go to Royal Tunbridge Wells for a weekend getaway. We had to go because Sam had an exam, but thought we'd make a weekend of it too! I thought I'd share our Valentine's weekend away with you!

Our Hotel
We stayed at the Travelodge Tunbridge Wells which is currently being refurbished and is covered in scaffolding but should look like this. It's based in an old hotel which Travelodge have bought and are making their own.

Although I was kindly offered to stay there by Travelodge, it should have been only £94 for 2 nights including breakfast which worked out less than £25 each per night - not bad! The building is a mixture of old features with modern fittings and new carpets

We had a room on the third floor which was under the sloped roof making the room quite small and 6'2" Sam had to bend down to not bump his head when walking around the room. I think if you had a room on the first or second floor, the room would be lovely because they had the old, super high ceilings.

However, although small, the room had everything you'd expect from a Travelodge - it was clean, the bed was comfortable and it had all the basics (although I had to borrow a hairdryer from reception as there wasn't one in each room). We had one of the recently refurbished rooms so it smelt like new carpet! They also left a little box of sweeties on the bed on Valentine's day! 

We had the "all you can eat" breakfast buffet in the mornings which was nice - there was a range of English Breakfast foods, as well as cereal, muffins and croissants which were yummy. 

What we did
We quickly discovered Tunbridge Wells is BEAUTIFUL. This is a view of the common opposite our hotel, and it was a quick 10 minute walk around the common into town or across to the beautiful "Pantiles" shopping area. There were also houses built into the huge boulders on the common! It was amazing.

 We met up with Sam's mum and her partner and went to Scallywag Cafe near the hotel. It was a mixture of kookie furniture, most of which you could buy, and mis-matched seating. It was really sweet and a lovely place to sit and watch people out on the common.

We had lots of teas and coffees there, and had some lunch with vintage cutlery and plates. I had a chicken and mushroom pie which was sadly a bit tasteless, but the others had filo tarts which they said were delicious.

After our lunch, we parted ways and Sam and I wondered into town to have a look round. The main town has fantastic shops and we spent a long time exploring the Royal Victoria Place shopping centre which got me very excited! They had everything I could have wanted and more including Fenwick department store which I love visiting when I go to Canterbury. In there I swooned over the designer handbags and was very almost convinced by Sam (who is a complete enabler) to buy an oxblood Mulberry Bayswater.
I managed to step away and instead bought myself a new MAC lipstick.

I've been really obsessed with googling MAC Velvet Teddy after seeing so many people use it to make Kylie Jenner inspired overlined lips. However when I tried out the colour it was so brown! The MAC ladies guided me towards a similar colour called Creme In Your Coffee which is a creamy mid-tone pink brown and is much more flattering to pink or pale skin tones than Velvet Teddy. It's a lovely "my lips but better and darker" shade and I can't wait to show you a review later. 

That night we went out to The Pantiles for our Valentine's evening which is a gorgeous walkway area full of little shops. 

We got all dressed up and headed out for dinner. Sadly, as we didn't know until a week before that Sam and I would be in Tunbridge Wells, we booked our restaurant too late and went to Zizzi for dinner as we couldn't get a place at another Italian with great reviews on Trip Advisor. However, I love Italian food so I was happy! We had 3 courses and lots of cocktails and I was so busy having fun and getting tipsy that I forgot to take any photos. I am annoyed now because I loved my makeup that night!

The next morning (after being woken by a fire alarm because someone had a really hot, steamy shower and left the bathroom door open!) we had some more breakfast and headed home!

I'd absolutely recommend Tunbridge Wells as a weekend getaway and I really enjoyed my weekend there. It's a great way to get a little holiday in before your proper summer holidays to beat the winter blues.

9 Feb 2015

Things I have learnt from owning a puppy Miniature Pinscher

I have owned my little puppy Teddy for 9 months now and in that time there has been a helter-skelter of emotions! From the first sleepless nights of owning a tiny puppy, to the dawning realisation I own a dog and all my childhood dreams have come true, it's been a ride so far!

1. Puppies have no chill

You won't get much sleep at first because your puppy will miss you and cry. Also Teddy would get stuck on the stairs and cry a lot. Teddy managed to get into every room and chew everything near him meaning quickly eveything of value was put up high!

 2. Puppies have an amazing skill of looking completely innocent

See these photos? These were taken moments before or moments after something was shredded. Turns out "my dog ate my homework" is not a terrible excuse. Something will have been wee-d on, or have been dragged back to his den for a slobbery snuggle.

3. Puppies go from so awake you think they'll never sleep, to completely unconscious and snoring within seconds. 

Obviously the best place to sleep is in a human's bed or snuggled up in a blanket. Apparently this is particularly a miniature pinscher trait. 

4. Putting a puppy in a jumper is the most hilarious things you can do

But what started as a joke, became a serious problem

5. After 5 months, once we had the toilet training nailed and the biting had stopped, it became a dream to own a puppy

My little cutie with my big cutie makes my heart melt a little!

I'm a guitar!

I love our little Teddy, he's brought so much joy to our lives and is such a little pickle! He's a high energy dog and not recommended for first time owners but we took our risks and after lots of tears, arguments and so much love we have a doggy who feels like another member of the family. (he's my furry baby!)


6 Feb 2015

DIY Tutorial: Valentines Ombre Dip Dye Dress Makeover with Dylon Dye

I have a lovely white dress from ASOS which I never wear! It's a huge shame but it turns out white dresses are just really challenging to wear year round. This is the ASOS Scoop Back dress which cost me £22 (although I found it on ASOS this week for £10). When Dylon sent out their Valentine's email, it inspired me to do something to make this dress Valentine's Day Date worthy (because we're going away that weekend to Tunbridge Wells and staying in a hotel!) and so I tried out some of the dye they sent me

DIY - Ombre Dip Dye Dress

Time taken: 45 minutes
Difficulty: Medium (there's a bit of thinking and cleaning up to do)

You will need: 

  • A washing up tub
  • A measuring jug and spoon
  • 250g table salt
  • Cleaning wipes
  • Dylon Hand Use dye - I'm using Flamingo Pink (£3.25)
  • A spray bottle (I didn't realise I needed one until I started!)
  • A clippy hanger
  • A white dress!
  • If you have one, an old wardrobe or tripod or something to hang your dress from. If not, you can balance a bar across the shower. I've used a backdrop holder. If you are doing it outside, use a washing line! If you don't have a rail, you'll have to ask someone else to hold up the hanger, or lie the dress over the side of the bowl. If you are going to lie the dress down, be extra careful to make sure the dye tide-marks are even on both sides of the dress. 

How to dip dye your dress!
1.   Decide what you're going to dye. I was really torn between dying the shoulders dark and getting ligher towards the waist, but I decided to go with the classic dip dye. Make sure your dress is clean, and dampen it in warm water. I made mine quite wet to encourage the dye to spread out. 

2.   Put 6L of warm water into your washing up bowl and put in 250g of salt. Stir until it's all dissolved and place in the bath. Set your hanging rail up over the top, ensuring it is the right height that allows a tiny bit of hem to remain in the liquid when the dress is hung up. I did it all over the bath, but if you can cope with the cold, you could do it outside to reduce mess clear up! If you are using a plastic or enamel bath, make sure you wipe up all spills ASAP. 

3.   In a jug, measure out 500ml of warm water, and pour the packet of dye in. Mix it really well, and then pour 1/3 of the mixture into the salty water. Use a wipe to wipe up any drips from the side of the bowl - this is very important to avoid unexpected colour blobs on the white part of the dress if you are resting your dress over the side. 

4.   Then you're ready for the first level dip! With your dress on a clippy hanger, slowly lower the dress into the dye up to the point you want the dye to end and pull it out straight away.

5.   Now this is the part where I panicked! The DIY post I was following for ideas from A Pair and A Spare said just lightly dip in different concentrations, but her skirt didn't come out stripy! As you can see my dress has a big, dark pink line! PANIC! Then inspiration hit me and I grabbed the spray bottle I had from IKEA and filled it with water. I used this to spray the line between the dye and the white fabric to really saturate the fabric and help the dye diffuse. 

6.   Add another 1/3 of dye to the solution and dip another 1/3 of the dress into the liquid, leaving the hem to soak in the dye. This time, fill 1/3 of your spray bottle with the dye solution from your tub and top up with water. Use this spray to help the two stripes of dye blend. You can spray from far away to help blur the initial white/pink line, and closer up to blend the second stripe. 

7.   Finally, add all the dye in, give it a good stir and dip the last 1/3 of the dress hem into the liquid, hang up and leave with the very hem in the dye. Fill up your spray bottle with 100% dye and use that to blur the last dye line. If your dress/skirt has a lot of fabric like this one, it might form folds. Make sure you stretch apart all the folds and ensure the dye is even all over. Spray any patches. 

8. After all this, pull out your dress, make sure all the lines are blurred to your liking and hang up over another bowl if you have one. 

9. Pour away the dye liquid through a metal sink or outside drain and give your bath a really good clean. You don't want it staining. I also forgot to move the white bathmat and dripped on it. It's currently in the washing machine and I have my fingers crossed. Bleach will be your friend if you find the dye is stubborn in the bath. Leave you dress hanging for half an hour whilst you have a cup of tea and sit down, and then rinse in cold water to get excess dye out. 

10. Put your dress in the washing machine and wash on a normal 30 degree wash. Some of the dye will fade out because you haven't had it in the dye for the recommended 45 minutes (because we don't want an all over bright pink dress!) Dry and then you're ready to wear it! Make sure you wash it with similar colours the first couple of washes.

Overall for £3.25 for a packet of dye and 99p for some salt, it's really tempting to go through my wardrobe dying everything I don't wear anymore! I'm also threatening to do Sam's tshirts which he is not happy about. 


4 Feb 2015

Wednesday Wants

Sit down, have a coffee break and come fantasy shopping with me. January has already passed and I am so fed up of saving money. I feel like I've bought nothing exciting (not true when I look at my own blog) and I still have no extra pennies to show for it. 

Anyway in my usual style, I have a long list of things I want so I thought I'd share some with you! 
I'd really love some black trainers. I would like the Nike Air Max Thea but they seem to be all sold out in black suede in my size. However looking on the Nike website I came across these glittery black trainers!! They are the Nike Air Max 1 in Gala Glimmer and they cost £140 (although you can personalise them which is a lot of fun to do). I am desperate for these!

After seeing my super-stylish cousins this weekend, I've been obsessed with swing dresses. They really rocked them. I love this textured swing dress from ASOS which is a more affordable £25

With Valentine's Day coming up, I'm in the market for some new underwear. I love this floral body which is £35 from Topshop for a cute but glam look.

I love a stripe, and this French Connection dress is reduced from £65 to £33 in John Lewis. It has an exposed zip detail at the back which I love!


2 Feb 2015

10 things to do on your commute

I have a looooooog commute to my current placement, clocking up at about 2 hours each way! I love to moan about it and my lack of sleep due to the commute, but part of me is loving the time I'm stealing by getting the train to work! Here are my top 10 things to do on the train in to work to steal back some time:

1. Have some breakfast
I always look for ways to have more sleep, and eating breakfast on the train is a great way to have a lie in. You can take a porridge pot in a thermos, or you can make this amazing oaty breakfast invented by Ruth at The Crazy Runner Girl. You make it the night before in a Tupperware container and have delicious breakfast ready to go in the morning. 

2. Learn a language
I love learning languages, my current favourite is British Sign Language. However I'm going away to Italy this year and am thinking about listening to some audio language lessons on the train! Ciao! 

3. Get creative
I love knitting and spend most of my time knitting on the train. This is my current favourite pattern book but you could do lots of other crafts such as cross-stitch, drawing, scrap booking? 

4. Read a book
I know it's not original but the train is a great time to catch up on your reading, whether for work or personal reading. I'm currently reading "Why Love Matters" by Sue Gerhardt which is about how affection shapes a baby's neural development. It's kind of a work and personal book and really interesting for people who are interested in attachment parenting. 

5. Catch up on your favourite TV Series
I love Brooklyn 99 and Arrested Development, so use your time to catch up

6. Check out some new recipes
I got a subscription to Good Food magazine for Christmas so I love to go through it on the train, turning over the pages of the yummy things I'm going to try. There are also hundreds of amazing food blogs out there, I would love to know your recommendations. 

7. Do your hair
Obviously this depends on if you're sitting alone or with someone, but if you have the elbow space, the train can be a great opportunity to steal some sleep time back whilst doing your hair. Why not check out my videos for a couple of styles?

8. Discover new music
My boyfriend has a system on Spotify to discover new music. If he hears a song on an advert or in passing, he will find the artist on Spotify and put all their music into a "listen" playlist. He will then slowly go through listening to each song, either moving it onto a permanent playlist or deleting it. He will then go on a "Spotify Safari" and listen to related artists, discovering new things. A great use of time and you're guaranteed to discover new music.

9. Communicate with people
I am guilty of not texting people very often, however my best friend Sarah is a fantastic friend and is always up to date with gossip and sending people well wishes. Her advice is set out a chunk of time and text 5 - 10 important people, just saying hello how are you? and seeing how conversation goes. It gets conversation going and brings people closer together. Another idea is to buy some cute note cards and write cards to family and friends who live further afield. I love this Hummingbird Bakery set I gor for Christmas a few years ago

10. Look at the beautiful countryside! 
Cheesy, but some of us are blessed with lovely sites to spy. I also enjoy playing a game where you watch other people and guess what their lives are like! 
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