Saturday, 31 May 2014

Do Cats and Dogs Get Along? | An Update on Bonnie and Oscar

Oscar, our exotic shorthair cat, has been with me on my blogging journey ever since the very beginning back in 2008. He plays a very special part to the whole thing and he's so precious to me! So much so that I have made a little section for him on my blog which you can go and see for yourself right now for a fix of cuteness overload! I always fail to update his page and it always falls right down to the bottom of my list of things to do, which makes me sad! It just never feels like the right time! Truth is, since I got Instagram, I just use that as a way of updating everyone on how he's doing! It's always so sweet when people leave comments and tweets asking about him. If only he knew!

exotic short hair kittens, cute kittens
exotic short hair cat

Friday, 30 May 2014

A Little Catch Up!

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When I started these monthly round up posts, I didn't think I would enjoy looking back on what I've been up to as much as I have. As expected, May has been really fun and busy! It started with a lovely Sunday meeting up with little puppy Bonnie, my mum and my sister! We had a picnic at the park and took Bonnie for a long walk where she met lots of other doggy friends. I think we were too enthusiastic to hit the park for a picnic because it was far too cold and windy, I ended up with more hair in my month than food!

This month, I tried to do a weekly series on fashion blog photography. I've managed two! The first being "What Camera Do Fashion Bloggers Use" and the second one "Photography Tips on Lighting" which I hope you've all enjoyed reading them. They took so long to put together. Photography is something that's quite important to blogging now, and as they say, picture says a thousand words but I know it's not as straight forward as picking up your camera and clicking away! I know that only too well! I hope that anyone who has read them has found it useful. As I have promised to do four photography posts, that means that I owe you guys two more! And they are on the way! Soon!

There were some awesome new drops at Hero&Cape these past couple of months, and I've been able to work with some bloggers which was nice. Also, f you're after THE pineapple print t-shirt of the season, look no further than Hero&Cape! I can't wait to wear mine, it just hasn't been warm enough yet.

Enough of the weather talk! This month, we went out for a posh family dinner to celebrate Niki's birthday! I had pressed pork belly and pea puree, followed by a platter of miniature desserts (YUM!) and then of course, we went to London (< you can read about it there), where we stuffed our faces with Patty&Bun, SNOG froyo and other delicious foods which are not pictured here! On the subject of food, we decided to switch to a different supermarket to do our food shopping. I live right next door to a massive Sainsbury's branch, but the novelty wore off a long time ago. I used to love food shopping, now I find it an absolute chore! ...Until we went to Morrisons and re-discovered the salad bar, and YUMMY pastries! You have to try the cinnamon buns with the soft cheese icing. It's the best! All this talk of food is making me so hungry! Going to grab myself an iced bun now!

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Thursday, 29 May 2014

Patty & Bun | Places To Eat in London

patty&bun, places to eat in London

Patty & Bun | Places To Eat in London

So, lots of us in the "blogging world" have heard of Patty & Bun and in fact, if it wasn't for you lovely lot, I would never have heard of this place. Word of mouth really is invaluable to businesses. So, here I am, adding my two cents!

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Smiley Faces Nail Art by WAH Nails in London

Smiley nail art
wah nails in london
best pastel nail polish
simple smiley faces nail art

Nail Art by WAH Nails
Topshop, Lower Ground Floor, Oxford St

In a recent trip to London, I popped into Topshop on Oxford Street and got my nails done at WAH Nails. I rarely get my nails done professionally because I'm not a huge fan of acrylics and gel nails but the best thing about WAH Nails is that they are known to specialise in awesome nail art so I was excited about this! It is advisable to book an appointment in advanced (which I didn't do) but I was very lucky that they had a slot, so I walked around the shop for a while (you'll never get bored in this Topshop!) and came back after ten minutes. When I got there, I didn't have a specific design in mind but they can literally paint on anything you want! I thought of going for a floral pattern but I ended up choosing something from the menu because there was so many to designs to pick from! You can also choose the colours yourself and mix & match!

As you can see, I got some cheeky faces painted on pastel shades to match the colour scheme of my blog. I wondered whether I should just have the nail art on the ring finger. Maybe if it was an intricate and fiddly design, I would have only got it on one finger but because the faces were fairly simple, I got them on all ten! It took ages but it was nice to sit and chill in Topshop whilst the chaos happens around you! I'm really happy with the nails, the faces are really cute and cheerful! They stayed in pretty good shape for over a week without a single chip, and the manicure remained very shiny still! I don't think you can beat WAH Nails when it comes to nail art, and like I said, they can paint anything you wanted! You can find them on the lower ground floor in Topshop on Oxford Street. Prices vary depending on the design you wanted but mine cost £30.

Have you ever been to WAH Nails before? What design would you go for?

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Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Face Care For Sensitive Skin from NIVEA Daily Essentials Range

nivea daily essential sensitive range,beauty product giveaway, skincare for sensitive skin

NIVEA Daily Essentials Sensitive Face Care Range

NIVEA has launched four new products in a range that dermatologically formulated especially for sensitive skin. Everyone suffers from sensitive skin from time to time. I flit from sensitive to normal skin depending on various factors which is completely common. Factors like stress, make-up and changes in weather can temporarily mess up your skin. For me, it is the worst during winter when I'm not using the right products to keep my skin hydrated enough. It can be difficult to know what to apply on my face to ease and relieve it because more often than not, it tends to gets worse and red patches will flare up! Even if it's water! Of course, the more you panic, the more you stress and our skin reacts to these changes. It may seem out of your control but these products from NIVEA's Daily Essentials Sensitive range helps reset your skin by reducing the three main signs of sensitivity; redness, tightness and dryness. 

affordable cleasners from NIVEA,
3-in-1 Micellar Cleansing Water* £4.07
Cleansing Milk* £4.07

There are two cleansers in this range, and you don't really need both for it to work effectively. You can buy one or the other depending on what type of cleansers you like to use or what your skin needs. 

Micellar cleansing water is something that I've been hearing a lot about lately! The latest "trend" in cleansers and make-up removers, the micelle technology is ideal because the molecules in micelles have an empty centre so dirt can be enclosed in these and taken off you skin. NIVEA 3-in-1 Micellar Cleansing Water claims to cleanse deeply, removes make up and moisturise all in one step. I've used cleansing waters before and it can be quite drying so I was wary about this one. This one is mild, and feels really refreshing and gentle on my skin, and it wasn't drying at all. There's no effort required in using this and I like to use this every morning by apply a few drops on a cotton pad and sweeping it across my face. Whilst it is a convenient product to use, however, it doesn't quite do that well in getting rid of make up. It doesn't remove my eye make up very well, it's hard to shift liquid eyeliner and waterproof mascara with this micellar water. Therefore, I use this in the morning to cleanse my face before I apply my make up.

If you prefer milky cleansers, the Cleansing Milk is great for removing make up as well as cleansing. It's a creamy, moisturising formula that leaves the skin smooth and soft. I've been using this in the evening to as a make up remover and to cleanse my face. I apply it all over and then wipe with a cotton pad and then finally washing my face with a cold muslin cloth to remove any residue away. The cream dissolves my make up and removes my eye make up much more effectively than the micellar cleansing water. 

affordable skincare
Day Cream* £4.49
Night Cream* £4.49

Both of these face creams are pH-neutral and helps to relieve skin from redness, tightness and dryness. They contain a caring formula of licorice extract and grape seed oil for it's soothing and anti-inflammatory properties. The gentle day cream contains SPF15 to protect you from the sun and prevent premature ageing. The calming night cream supports the skin's regeneration process at night and provides a relaxed skin feeling when you wake up in the morning. I prefer the consistency of the night cream, it sinks in to the skin nicely and there's a matte finish to it. 

All the products in the range does not contain parabens, colours or perfume. 


Now on to the exciting bit! I've been given ten full sets by NIVEA to giveaway to ten lucky winners! Below is what is up for grabs. That's one day cream, one night cream, a bottle of cleansing milk and a 3-in-1 micellar cleansing water! If you'd like the chance to win then all you have to do is enter via Rafflecopter! 

The mandatory entries are: You have to follow my blog via Bloglovin (I will be checking so you will need to have a valid bloglovin' account), LIKE my Facebook and NIVEA's Facebook Page. 

After you've done that, there are lots of other options to gain extra entries which increases your chances of winning! Just following the simple instructions on Rafflecopter! Good luck!

beauty product giveaway

Open to UK residents only. 

Competition is for a set of NIVEA Daily Essentials Sensitive Skin range which includes 1 day cream, 1 night cream, 1 cleansing milk and 1 micellar cleansing water. NIVEA reserves the right to amend or withdraw offers at any time. No cash alternatives are available. Free prize draw, no purchase necessary. Giveaway will be live for 7 days, from 27th May to 3rd June midnight. Entries must be submitted via Rafflecopter widget. Ten winners will be selected from Rafflecopter after the closing date, each receiving a full set of NIVEA Sensitive Skin range. NIVEA will be dispatching the prizes from their London offices.

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Sunday, 25 May 2014

Staycation in London | Photo Diary

Some of you may remember the Paper Doll Party social media campaign in January where a few bloggers were sent a gorgeous christmas present containing Biscuiteers Biscuits, a paper dolls along with miniature paper versions of F&F stylish winter range. We knew nothing about it other than we were going to get sent a surprise Christmas present delivered and that we had to wait to find out more. It was the most genius way to be introduced to a new collection! 

Working with the F&F social media/digital marketing team is amazing because they really understand how it all works and they sure know how to get people talking about them. Their past couple of TV ads have been very stylish, it has definitely got people talking! You almost forget that they are an affordable supermarket brand, but I really like the direction they have taken.

Anyway - with the campaign, they came up with a blogger styling challenge with a difference, with an AMAZING incentive to win a luxury trip to our Capital city! Usually, with these competitions, I switch off and opt out but this really was something I couldn't push aside. I would've kicked myself if I didn't get involved, I'm sure you would agree! So much effort was put in to the paper dolls, it was only right that I gave the same amount of effort back in to my blogpost. In the parcel, I received a doll that was illustrated to look to like me, I dressed it up in my favourite pieces from the F&F range and made it my first blogpost of 2014.  I had set up a mini "studio" and started snapping away with my camera.

Well, as you can see, I was the one who won the prize (yay!) and we have been planning it since January! It was a positive start to the year and I couldn't wait to go to London! Apart from one time in 2004, every single time I've been to London, it has always been work related. It was nice to be able to experience London as a Staycation, doing things that people do when they come here in a holiday. 

I picked a date in May, on Niki's birthday, and also because I thought it was 100% guaranteed to be gloriously sunny what with it being close to Summer! What with the typical British Summer, I should have known better! Luckily, in the three days we were there, the weather was so nice and it was beaming with sunshine. We had just missed all the rain (which seems to be ongoing... when will we get a proper summer!!)

With the help of a London agency called Element, we were able to go ahead with planning the trip. They were amazing in helping me ensure that everything goes smoothly! We got to do really fun things like go on a helicopter ride, spa treatment, manicure, theatre show, and more!

So, here's what we got up to on our short trip to London! 

Day One

things to do in london, helicopter tour in london
things to do in london, helicopter tour in london

I am a nervous flyer. It's not a fear, and it isn't a big deal. Generally, I am fine but I just panic (a lot) when there's turbulence, and I don't like take off's and landings - which I suppose are pretty normal things to worry about. When I knew I was going to be on a helicopter, for the first twenty minutes, my reaction was "I don't want to do it, I'm scared and I am worried" but then I sat down and thought... It isn't something that I see myself doing again, so in a way, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I would be absolutely stupid if I didn't go for it! Niki was most excited about this activity, but two weeks before the trip, I was going through a up and down "I'm not going to do it" versus "it will be fun, I'm going to love it" mode. 

It was the first thing on our itinerary and my nervousness worsened slightly when the train got delayed half way through our journey! They couldn't get the automatic doors to close and we thought we weren't going to make it to the heliport on time (we laughed at how #firstworldproblem this sounded!). The flight lasted twenty minutes and we got to see London in the best way possible. I wasn't scared once I got on, and the helicopter was steadier than I thought! 

patty&bun liverpool street, patty and bun
Muriels Kitchen south kensington, muriels kitchen cakes

After checking in to the hotel we were staying in (The Rembrandt in South Kensington), we hopped on the tube and went to Liverpool Street for a bite to eat at Patty & Bun (more on this later in the week) and some drinks in Shoreditch. It seems like all we did on this trip was eat, and after looking back on the photos we took, this is actually true - all we did was eat! 

After that, we popped in to Muriel's Kitchen for a cake or two! It was near the hotel so we had walked past it earlier on in the day and we knew we had to get a frosted coconut cake, a portuguese nata and ice cream milkshakes!

Day Two

snog frozen yoghurt
snog frozen yoghurt
wah nails topshop

We woke up early for breakfast and then got ready for our spa treatment, which of course, I didn't get any photos of. We were booked in for an hour long hot stone massage where they massage and place hot stones on certain points of your body to help relax muscle, reduce inflammation and improve blood circulation. It was SO good, I didn't want it to end! I actually just wanted to go back to sleep afterwards!

At lunch time, we had a small bite to eat and chilled out over a cold drink and then treated ourselves to frozen yoghurt from Snog, we made our way to Oxford Street and I got my nails done at WAH Nails. I will be blogging about this during next week so won't say too much about it now!

jackson and rye

The nail appointment went on for longer than I thought but we stopped off nearby to have lunch at Jackson & Rye. We really like it in here! I had the buttermilk chicken and Niki had a steak. Jackson & Rye is on Wardour Street and I would recommend it to anyone! I can't wait to go back!

wicked apollo victoriawicked apollo victoria

The one thing that I was looking forward to the most was going to the theatre to see Wicked! I have always wanted to go! It was magical and everything I thought it would be more! If you're a fan of the Wizard Of Oz and haven't been to see Wicked yet, they are on tour around the UK with dates at Glasgow, Leeds, Birmingham, Sunderland, Salford and more! Check out the Wicked website to if they are coming to a theatre near you! I am definitely going to book tickets and take my mum this time! She'll LOVE it!

Day Three

the rembrandt hotel afternoon teathe rembrandt hotel afternoon tea

Before heading back to the train station to catch our ride back home, we had Champagne Afternoon Tea at the hotel which rounded our trip off really nicely! We had champagne, strawberries and cream to start with. Followed by sandwiches, cakes and the best scones and clotted cream in the country! It was delicious! 

The trip went so smoothly and we had the BEST time ever, and we ate soooo much! Keep your eyes peeled for a couple more blogposts on the WAH Nails manicure and Patty&Bun! 

Special thanks to F&F and Samantha at Element

Saturday, 24 May 2014

5 Beauty Essentials For Summer: Prepping Your Skin

beauty essentials for summer, how to prep skin for summer

Balance Me Natural Protection Moisturiser with SPF25 • NIVEA In-Shower Body Moisturiser  Bee Good Intensive Hand Repair  MaryJean Organic Vanilla and Orange Body Scrub  Arran Arromatics Skin Smoother Bar

Goodbye flakey skin! Hello to smooth and divine skin for Summer!

This has been a blogpost I have been planning for ages! I did one in December for winter beauty essentials and and it went down well so this post has been in the pipeline for a couple of months! The direction I want to take with this was to find and trial products from brands that are not that as well-known, and four out of the five I've got here are British brands.

I think it's easy for everyone to pop down to Boots and purchase something they've seen on a TV advert, or a placement in a magazine so I wanted to feature something different. Especially during the summer season when we are bombarded with adverts from skincare companies! Apart from the one from NIVEA, all of these beauty products I've featured here are from lovely British companies that you might not have heard of before. 

Preparing your skin for the summer takes effort, whether this is for a holiday abroad or a staycation, but with products that are effective and easy to use, it won't seem like much of a chore! I've narrowed it down to five recommendations, all of which are amazing and affordable! 

foot exfoliator bar
Mint and Coriander Skin Smoother With Apricot Seeds* from Arran Aromatics -  £4.25

I've used bars like this that either doesn't exfoliate enough or too drying on my skin. This exfoliator bar from Scottish brand, Arran Aromatics is labelled as a skin smoother but is listed on the website as a foot exfoliator.

It doesn't really matter where you use it but it's really perfect for your feet. It prepares your feet for the summer so that they look smooth and beautiful when wearing sandals and flip flops. This bar contains peppermint and spearmint which cools, refreshes and deodorises your feet. 

The apricot seeds feel quite rough and there are a lot of them in one bar. If you have sensitive skin or you are really ticklish on your feet, this will feel too scratchy for you. As I have said before on my blog somewhere, I really like gritty exfoliators, it feels like it does the job better. I've been using this over my legs and also to smooth my heels. It's not drying and leaves my skin feeling lovely and clean! 

The bar has a ridged surface to aid skin cell turnover. This cost £4.25 and is available from Arran Aromatics website.

nivea in shower body moisturiser
NIVEA In-Shower Body Moisturiser - £3.56

So, I know I wanted to feature niche brands for this blogpost and NIVEA is a humongous brand that is known all around the world but this is a unique product that NIVEA has developed, and it is not something that is available from any other brands (yet). 

The world's first In-Shower Body Moisturiser was launched this time last year and has become a staple product in my bathroom ever since and it is the third bottle I've bought. I don't use it every single day because I like to use proper body moisturisers a few times a week but for the purpose of convenience, this offering from NIVEA is great. 

It's a moisturiser that you can use whilst you're still in the shower. You apply it over your body, then you just rinse off and there is no need to use body butter or lotion afterwards. There are two types available in this range; I have always bought the one in the blue bottle which contains almond oil and it recommended for those who have dry skin. There is also one for normal skin too.

It's a great product, but the one bad thing that I will say about it is that it makes the bath rub very slippery! 

creams and lotion for the summer
Left: Intensive Hand Repair* from Bee Good - £12.00
Right: Natural Protection Moisturiser SPF 25 from Balance Me - £26.00

Along with lip balms, hand lotion is one of my essential beauty items all year round and I am always trying new ones and if the label contains the word 'intensive repair', you can count me in! I like the kind of lotions that are rich and intensive because I don't have to apply it as often. 

Bee Good Intensive Hand Repair contains wild flower honey, British echium oil, shea and cocoa butters. I like to keep my hands hydrated and protected because a) it feels really strange and itchy when my hands are feeling dry, to the point that it can feel quite sore and b) makes your hands look prettier when you make the effort to care for them. 

You can use this Bee Good repair treatment not only on your hands but where ever you have dry skin, like on your feet, elbows and knees. It's a handy size too, so you can carry it around in your handbag and use throughout the day. Bee Good are an amazing husband and wife team based in Hampshire. They do not use parabens, SLS and synthetic ingredients in their products.

Using a face moisturiser that contains SPF is something that I've only been doing for the past 12 months. I don't really like the feeling of some face creams that contains SPF, it can feel heavy, sticky and oily, and it doesn't always absorb in to the skin very easily, like sun cream.

It is safe to say that I've tried quite a few in the past year and so far, Balance Me has come up trumps with their Natural Protection Moisturiser that contains SPF25. It sinks in to skin fairly quickly and the high tech formula is created to protect, soothe, plump and firm! This cream is made of 99% natural ingredients and does not contain parabens.

organic body scrub
Organic Vanilla and Orange Body Scrub* from Mary Jean - £14.75

Scrubs and exfoliators are definitely high on the list of summer beauty must-haves! Mary Jean is a lovely little family business based in the Highlands of Scotland. They produce their range in small batches from the highest and most natural ingredients that leaves your skin feeling incredibly nourished. 

I always find that with businesses like this, they take so much care in to what they make and they have a real passion for what they do. They take pride in knowing that their skincare products are 100% natural. I highly recommend the organic vanilla and orange body scrub which is made from raw cane sugar, sea salt, olive oil, essential oils and sodium bicarbonate. 

This scrub contains 82% organic content and cost £14.75 for a big glass jar which will last about six to nine months depending on how frequently you exfoliate. I use these scrubs on a regular basis, about two or three times a week. 

The best thing about this scrub is that it isn't gloopy. It is absolutely packed purely with sugar, salt and oil which feels rough at first but melts away as you rub in to the skin. It doesn't leave you skin dry or irritated because it there are oils in there hydrates your skin and keeps it smooth. If you find the Soap&Glory body scrubs too gooey and not gritty enough, then do give this one a go. 

So, those are currently my five beauty essentials for Summer! Be sure to let me know what you use to prep your skin during the warmer months! 


Friday, 23 May 2014

Cocktail Themed Candles from Kiss Air

Candles from KISS AIR

Peach Bellini, Frozen Margarita, Strawberry Daiquiri - Candles from KissAir*

If there's one "blogger cliché" that I find myself falling right in to it's that I am obsessed with candles. We do love our candles! Although I'm pretty certain that this obsession is not limited to the world of blogging! I have three new candles added to my collection and these are from Kiss Air, an independent company run by a lovely lady that I have known for a few years now! It is always so nice to see people you know do so well!
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