Lounging and Lush

Thursday, 31 December 2015

Hello everyone, 

I hope you are all having a fab holiday and enjoying the down time between Christmas and the New Year! Now I am definitely not a party animal and have never really liked going clubbing on crowded dates like New Year's Eve so I have a very different party planned for myself. I am going to have a pamper party in my own house, I am planning on doing my nails, a face pack, moisturising and chilling out with a good book! I even have a Lush bubble bar left to use up so I think it will be perfect. 

I wanted to share my love of Lush with your guys today, I think they are such a fab company and they have such good morals. All their products are ethically bought and vegetarian, if not vegan. Almost all wrapping is recyclable and they don't test their products on animals. Add that to their amazing scents and luxurious products and they become a real winner in my eyes! My boyfriend knows how much I love their products and surprised me just before Christmas with two bubble bars for my bath. He chose Karma and Peeping Santa. We used the Peeping Santa last week and it was so lovely, the bath water turned a very festive red and there were so many bright, opalescent bubbles, it was a bit like having a bath in Santa's coat pocket really! Oh my Lord, the scent was fabulous, I don't like it when things are overpowering, and this one was perfect with a warming smell of cocoa and shea butter combined with hints of bergamot, geranium and strawberry. A feast for the senses, it was a warming and soothing scent that lingered on my skin long after my bath. 

I will be using Karma tonight and I know it will be a winner as I have used it before and raved about it :-) I loved the orange and lemon grass scents to it, they are so fresh! I think I will also curl up on the sofa with my partner, a nice hot chocolate sprinkled with mini marshmallows and my book like I did in these photos. What do you guys have planned for tonight? Let me know in the comments below! 


Giving My Hair Some Love

Monday, 28 December 2015

Hello everyone 

We all know what happens at this time of year…parties! Which is great fun and such a laugh but not so nice for my hair. It has been straightened, curled, put into all sorts of fancy do’s and smothered in hair spray, and to be honest it is not thanking me for it! 

At home I have this wonderfully rich masque for my hair from a niche little french brand called my little beauty. Whenever I use it my hair is so grateful, I can almost feel it being revitalised. 
This masque is thick and creamy and has a very delicate scent of shea butter to it, I don't like overpowering smells for this type of product as you have to sit with it in your hair for a while! I massage a small amount into the roots of my hair and smooth copious amounts into the ends before leaving it to sit for 2 minutes. I then rinse it out with warm water and feel my hair becoming silkier and smoother by the minute. 

I try not to use this product too much and over-saturate my hair, but when I do use it I feel such a difference! If you are interested in checking out this product or any others click here. Go on, treat yourself, it is the festive season after all! The only slight problem is that currently My Little Beauty doesn't ship to the UK, but if you live in France or know someone who does I can't recommend their products more highly, they feel so luxurious considering how affordable they are. 

What is your go to hair masque? Let me know in the comments below :-) 


Fake nails - Yes or No?

Monday, 28 December 2015

Hello everyone,

I could have written this post a while ago, but I wanted to give you all an accurate review so I waited for the nails to come off, then I could tell you how long they lasted! I have always loved nail varnish and manicures, but I struggle to sit still for long enough to let my nail varnish dry and I am forever smudging or chipping it. Hence my purchase of stick on fake nails. I was a bit wary at first, as I have heard fake nails can damage your natural ones with the adhesive used. However, I was assured that these ones don't do any damage and I can now confirm that it is true! My nails still feel nice and soft and smooth, my only complaint is that I don't have any more to stick on...

See how pretty they looked! I stuck them on, with a little help from my Dad, what are Dad's for eh! I left them alone for an hour, it was agonising to wait that long in case you were wondering, then I trimmed them down to a little longer than the length of my own nails. I bought them for £8.99 in my local Boots and I definitely think they were worth it, even though they only lasted for about 5 days they looked so smart and pretty, I could not stop looking at them. Everyone who saw them commented and said they looked fab. I probably could have got them to last longer, but I kept playing with them, I think I'll get some more and be restrained to see how long they last! The ones I used were the Elegant Touch Express nails and they came in a very handy little plastic box so I could keep the spares and shapes that weren't quite right. If you want to check out their other patterns, click here, their range is huge and deeply fabulous!

I will definitely be getting lots more in different patterns! I bought some red and white spotty ones for my Mam so I may well write a second post with a follow up of her thoughts and some other patterns and colours which I will inevitably purchase.

What do you think of fake nails? Love or hate them? Let me know in the comments below :-)


Boxing Day Reading

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Hello everyone,

If you are anything like me then you'll love spending Boxing Day lounging around reading and recovering from the Christmas dinner food coma! I also like to prolong the magic of Christmas as much as possible, usually I do this by interspersing reading with festive movies. I have often wanted to find a suitably christmassy book to read around this time and this year I did.

My True Love Gave To Me is a compilation of 12 stories based around the festive season by contemporary young adult authors. I picked this up as some of my favourite contemporary authors are contributors, including Gayle Foreman, Jenny Han and Rainbow Rowell.

Two of the stories stood out the most to me, interestingly neither of which were written by the authors that drew me to the book. The Lady and the Fox by Kelly Link and The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer by Laini Taylor. Both of these stories are quite fantastical, they follow two young women who fall in love with mythical creatures/magical beings in their search for freedom from the mundane and their lot in life. I don't want to spoil them for you so I won't give too many details, but these two stories are very atypical romances and could easily have taken a darker turn...

I loved all the stories in this book, not just because they were festive, but for the characters. Each individual person was sculpted so perfectly that I wished all their stories were longer. I could honestly have read a book about each and every one, particularly North and Marigold in Stephanie Perkins' It's a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown. My only niggle about this book is the cover art and the design. I don't think the pale blue is very festive really and the neon pink page edges are rather garish, the overall effect is of a book aimed at young children and not at the teen/young adult market. It would have been more appealing with festive colours or left as it was, but minus the bright pink! However, we all get taught not to judge a book by it's cover so I will try to ignore it and just love the stories and festive cheer. I think some of the stories will become favourites to be re-read around this time of year!

What are your favourite festive reads? Do you prefer something different, away from the festivities maybe? Let me know in the comments below :-)


Secret Santa Adventures

Friday, 25 December 2015

Hello everyone!

I hope you are all having a wonderful day, whether you celebrate Christmas or not! For those of you who do, Merry Christmas!!! 

Now that it is out of my system, I wanted to tell you about my Secret Santa this year. I had it all planned out, 15 of us were playing so I was super excited.  I cut up small pieces of red card, wrote the names in gold glitter pen (of course) and sealed them with gold glitter and a snowflake. Everyone picked a name out of the santa hat in late November. Up to there it was going well, but then I went back to uni and all hell broke loose! Clearly my little elves playing the game should not have been left in charge haha, my request for everyone to take some of the wrapping paper failed miserably. The plan was for one person to bring the wrapping paper and everyone to take some and use it for their present, attaching the name tags I had lovingly prepared. The wrapping paper was plain blue, I mean come on! It wasn't even christmassy, but I told myself it would be fine and we would make do, but then one person waltzed off with it leaving no paper for most of us, myself included! Come the big reveal we ended up with all sorts of wrapping, including one wrapped in tissue paper and duct tape, however, it was a fantastic laugh with some weird and wonderful gifts being exchanged. Obviously I had to take photos of our surroundings too, they were so deliciously festive...

Moral of the story is this: 

1 - if you want it doing how you imagine, do it yourself! 

2 - who cares about organisation really, all that matters is the love, laughter and smiles exchanged on the day! 

Overall we had a fabulous time and laughed the whole night long, we spent the evening in our local pub the Queen's Head in Burley where they had the most beautiful decorations and also do some rather lovely food. If you live in the New Forest or are coming on holiday then check them out here. I have something a little different planned for secret santa next year, though for now it is a secret...shush! Enjoy the holidays y'all, eat, drink and be merry! :-) 


Forays into the Comic Book World!

Monday, 14 December 2015

Hello everyone!

I think it is safe to say that I have always been a girly girl, I have always been all about the hair, the makeup and the beauty products. However, I have also been an avid reader from childhood, usually leaning towards either classics, modern young adult fiction or fantasy when it comes to picking my books. That being said I had never in my life picked up a comic book, to be honest the thought never even crossed my mind. This is going to sound very judgy of me, but I always associated them with quite nerdy types and just assumed that they wouldn’t be for me. Yeah, that does kinda make me a bad person. I think as a lover of books it is important to be very open minded, by all means don’t force yourself to read a certain genre if you don’t enjoy it, but that is a far cry from ruling it out without even giving it a go! 

At the end of term I always face a long train journey home, which can be exceedingly boring, but this year, as an early christmas present, a friend very kindly gave me a book to read. That book was none other than DC’s Batgirl of Burnside Volume 1 - in other words a comic book. This was my chance to try out this genre and honestly I am so glad I did. I do not understand why I didn’t give them a go before, I love to draw and to read so really it’s the perfect combo. I can’t accurately assess comic books as a whole without reading more, but I can definitely say that I enjoyed this one. 

Apparently it is the first in a new series of Batgirl books staring Barbara Gordon as a Batgirl who has recently moved to a new, very hipster area to start work on her thesis. This instantly appealed to me as I can identify with the character, I am still studying on a very long university course, I am also ginger and, painful though it might be to admit, I am somewhat of a hipster. I liked how the crimefighting element didn’t dominate the storyline leaving Barbara subject to all the normal worries, fears and dramas of uni life. I found her sense of fun very engaging and to put it bluntly she is a bit of a badass! I don’t want to give too much of the story away though, so here is a quick summary: 

New to the neighbourhood, Batgirl is still adjusting to her surroundings when her reputation starts to go rapidly downhill. Somebody is impersonating her and trying to discredit the name she works so hard to protect! Barbara must juggle school work, friendship crises and discovering her mystery life hacker if she wants to save Gotham one more time. 

For those of you who already love comic books then please forgive my former judgyness and if you haven’t already tried this genre, then please do give it a go! Any recommendations are welcome in the comments below :-)


Lazy Lounging

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Hello everyone! 

Last weekend my parents came up to visit me on their way home from my cousin's wedding and, in the way all parents of uni students do, decided I needed feeding! On the Sunday morning we went out for a little drive and ended up in a nearby town called Heswall. Heswall has a number of lovely cafes and restaurants, but finding one open at 9 a.m on a Sunday and that takes dogs can be quite the challenge, but luckily for us we stumbled upon Otto's Lounge. 

Otto's Lounge is one of the Loungers chain, each one boasting a very retro and vintage ambiance. From the moment I walked in I fell in love with it and proceeded to whip out my camera and take pictures. The decor is kinda Eastern European shabby chic, with lots of mirrors and eclectic paintings. The light sconces were a work of art in their own right! The chairs and tables were beautifully mismatched and the whole place had a very casual, yet oh so cool vibe to it. Quite the hipster spot if I'm honest! I especially loved the book swap bookcase for people to exchange books, I may have to make use of this in the near future...

Now, being a vet student, places that are open to dogs always gain bonus points for me. The waitress was lovely and showed us to the dog friendly area and even brought my little dog her own water bowl and a couple of biscuits. Doggy heaven for her really, she did nothing by wag her tail the whole time! 

I can feel you all asking, but what was the food like?! It was AMAZING! I had thick american style pancakes with chopped strawberries and banana, peach cream and maple syrup, liberally sprinkled with icing sugar of course. Not only did it look delicious but it tasted it too, combined with the rich hot chocolate melting mini marshmallows it went down a treat. My mouth is watering at just the memory. 

I highly recommend that you all head over to the website and find your local loungers, to take a peek at my local one click here

Let me know in the comments below your favourite place for hot chocolate! :-) 


Advent Calendar Surprises!

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Hello everyone!

I just wanted to do a super quick update on my gorgeous L'Occitane advent calendar. I am such a lucky girl being spoiled by all these lovely products.

So far all the products have been amazing and I am now even more of a fan of this brand, the products feel like a luxury, but are still quite affordable if you fancy treating yourself :-) The two bottles have oil based products. One is a shampoo with five essential oils to help repair dry or damaged hair. It smells very fresh and slightly spicy, so for those of you who aren't so keen on floral scents this could well be the product for you! The second bottle is an almond based cleansing and softening shower oil. Now, I have had similar products before and they definitely work wonders on dry skin and protect them from harsher water and irritation from soaps! The smell is divine, imagine walking into a bakery around christmas and smelling that aroma of marzipan and amaretti, oh my lord it is wonderful!

I just love those cute little gift tags and I have to admit that I have already used one and have earmarked the others for presents for specific people! I am a bit of a gift tag weirdo and quite like making my own ones, but these are definitely pretty enough to make the cut. They are simple, yet festive, I basically just love them, enough said. The little pink tube has a rose scented hand cream, the rose scent is quite strong so if you aren't a fan this might not be for you, but I find that it is a nice hint of spring in the boring winter and it has become a handbag staple. And last, but by no means least, is the soap. L'Occitane soaps are always very hydrating and creamy, and it seems this one will be no different, with a lovely rich shea butter scent it makes for a very nice moisturising hand wash! My hands always feel super soft after using it.

I am so excited to open the rest of my advent calendar so keep your eyes peeled for more product updates! If you are wanting to learn a bit more about the calendar and the first day product click here. Have you guys got any exciting advent calendars? Let me know in the comments below :-)


Christmas Carols

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Hello everyone! 

No photos for this post sorry! I have been doing some super exciting stuff recently and I thought I would share it with you guys :-) Since mid-september I have been taking part in a local choir group preparing to sing christmas carols. Now I absolutely love christmas and any excuse to get into the festive spirit early is a definite yes from me. However, I didn't expect to enjoy doing this as much as I did. I quickly found that going to choir was one of the highlights of my week, the warm atmosphere and real community spirit has been so wonderful. 

We had our carol concert on Wednesday and it was so beautiful. The girls all wore black dresses and the boys wore suits with red bow-ties, it was honestly so classy and festive I wanted to squeal! Much as I loved the concert, the readings and the cookies, mince pies and mulled wine they were topped by an even better experience today. 

Our choir had organised a few weeks ago to head along to a local children's hospice to sing some carols and christmas songs for the residents. I was very much looking forward to this, it was a chance to make someone smile and bring some happiness to others. Having lost a friend, who spent her last few weeks in a hospice, I was extra keen to give something back, not just for the children, but also for the people who care for them daily. It was a wonderfully rewarding experience and the joy we brought to the children was the single best thing I've done all year, although I did have to stop myself from tearing up! I have so much awe and respect for the carers, families and the children themselves. I am so glad that my day was spent singing and making people happy and I can't wait to do it again next year! 

In case y'all were curious, here is a list of the songs we did, hopefully this will make you listen to them and get into the christmas spirit! 

Carol of the Bells 
Little Drummer Boy 
Jingle Bells 
O Come All Ye Faithful
Hark the Herald Angels 
Once in Royal David's City 
Good King Wenceslas 
Holy Night 
Lo How a Rose Er Blooming 
Silent Night 
Away in a Manger
Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer
We Three Kings 
I saw Three Ships 
Let it Go
We're Walking in the Air
Merry Christmas 


Apple Flowers

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Hello everyone! 

At this time of year I absolutely love to experiment with cooking and new recipes. A couple of months back the internet exploded with recipes for roses made out of apples. They look so beautiful that I decided to give them a go with my housemate! Read on for the recipe and to see how we did...

                                                       - 2 apples (preferably red ones)
                                                       - 1 sheet of puff pastry 
                                                       - cinnamon 
                                                       - apricot jam 
                                                       - 1/2 lemon 
                                                       - 1 tbsp flour 

First off, cut your apples in half, remove the core and cut them into very thin slices. They should look like small bridges at this point. 

Next, put all the apple bridges in a bowl full of cold water, squeeze in your 1/2 lemon and then microwave them for about 3 minutes. This should make them nice and malleable (a.k.a squishy, I just love the word malleable!). Once the water has been strained out, leave them to one side. 

Now for the jam! Put about 3 tbsp of apricot jam into a bowl and 2 tbsp of water and then microwave the lot for 1 minute. 

Put your pastry on the board after dusting on the flour and roll it out slightly so you can cut it into 6 even slices. This will let you make 6 apple roses, magical I know! Spoon jam along all the slices and place your apple bridges along the top of the pastry with the skin on the top side. 

Sprinkle them all with cinnamon, fold the bottom half of the pastry slice up and then roll. Speaking from experience, you need to roll them up really quickly or they will fall apart. As soon as they are rolled put them in a cupcake case or baking tray. I used the silicon type cases as they are more solid and will hold the rose shape better. 

Bake your roses in the oven for around 40-45 minutes at 190 degrees C/gas mark 5. Take them out of the oven, let them cool and enjoy their beauty/deliciousness. If you want you can dust the finished roses with icing sugar for some added pizazz! 

Have any of you guys made these? :-) 


Christmas is coming!

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Hello Everyone! 

As you all know Christmas and the festive season are on their way! Even if you don't celebrate Christmas you can still enjoy the music, the pretty lights, decorations and, of course, the food...

One of my favourite ways to get into the Christmas spirit is to put up my decorations and play loud christmas songs, however, I haven't gone home for the holidays yet so the decorations will have to wait :-( Instead I have been trying to make my room as festive as possible with candles, lights and, naturally, an advent calendar. 

Until a couple of years ago advent calendars were all about the chocolate! Well most of them, my childhood advent calendar was a cloth tree to hang up which had small, numbered pockets to be filled with goodies by my parents (Santa - come on guys, we all know he's really behind it all), some of which would be sweets, toys and, as I got older, beauty products. Recently the market for beauty related advent calendars has exploded and there are now so many to choose from! To check out Zoella's guide to a few of her favourites click here

My Mam, as a very kind early gift, gave me the L'Occitane advent calendar and I am so glad she did! It sold out super fast, which I guess is testament to how good it looks. The packaging is simply fabulous. Tied with a festive, scarlet ribbon and designed by none other than Kanako Kuno, a wonderful Japanese illustrator, the scene opens out as a typically Parisian street. It is so gorgeous, it's almost tempting not to open the little windows...almost...

I was so excited to open up door number one this morning that I would have squealed, if it hadn't been 6 a.m and likely to wake up my neighbours. Behind door number one is a tube of L'Occitane Ultra Rich Face Cream. The product is made with shea butter, giving it a wonderful scent and aims to protect and hydrate your skin for 24 hours, just what you need in the harsh winter winds. Let me just say, it both smells and feels amazing! 

What kind of advent calendars have you guys gone for? Whether you are sticking with chocolate or branching out to other things please let me know in the comments :-) 


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