Friday, 31 October 2014

Happy Halloween!

ghostly treats, ghost tea light holder, yankee candle
ghostly treats, ghost tea light holder, yankee candle

Happy Halloween, guys!
Hope you're all having a great start to the spooooooky weekend!

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5 Beauty Products I've Tried This Month | Oct 2014

beauty blog, monthly favourites, uk beauty blog
organic surge body butter, lavender body butter
hair products, swell dry shampoo, uniqone coconut

Organic Surge Body Butter // Organic Surge Daily Care Face Wash // UniqOne Coconut // pH Advantage Most Moisture Face Mask // swell Dry Shampoo

Instead of a 'Monthly Favourites' this month, I decided to mix things up! Here are a few beauty products that I've been using this month, the five are picked at random. Which ones have I been loving and which ones haven't met expectations?...


Thursday, 30 October 2014

Recipes For Sweet Treats | Inspiration From Pinterest

sweet treats recipe, pinterest dessert board

Mmmm, feast your eyes on this yummy lot! My Pinterest obsession is getting out of control. I seem to be particularly fixated on the food and drink category and once I start pinning, I can't stop! It is the modern equivalent of scrapbooking but instead of cut and paste, you browse and pin! If you're not already on there, I suggest you sign up and delve in to the pretty world of Pinterest!

I get so many tips and ideas from decorating, DIY, make-up, nail art, skincare, graphics, web design, photography, weddings... you name it, Pinterest has got it! As I mentioned, my favourite category is food and drink. I have found so many awesome recipes but I haven't actually attempted to cook or bake anything from them yet. I often look through my food pins and promise myself that one day, I WILL bake something from my Pinterest food board! At least ONE thing! They make it look so easy but I'm not a very experienced baker, nor am I patient when it comes to the kitchen! I went through a stage where I baked quite a lot but most of the time, they resulted to a disappointing mess! Nevertheless, I am inspired by Pinterest and The Great British Bake Off and as practise makes perfect, I am going to ask for baking equipment for Christmas this year, so we'll see if I can make my bake goods look as divine as they do on Pinterest...

I have picked a few things from my food boards and you've got to admit, they look out-of-this-world-PERFECT! I guess you are all wondering what they are and where you can find the recipes from? 

First up, we have the Bubblegum Frosting Cupcakes with a decorative gelatin bubble (this is not edible, it's purely decorative). The second image is a pineapple mousse cake wrapped in ribbons of rhubarb, which looks so beautiful and sounds absolutely delish! I've not always been the biggest fan of rhubarb, I was seriously put off by the soggy, tasteless rhubarb crumble that was served at Primary School but I've learnt to love it in recent years. 

doughnut recipe, marshmallow recipe, birthday cake marshmallows

Next up are the doughnuts. Ah, doughnuts. Where do I begin! I have a strong appreciation for them. This doughnut recipe is in French, but can be translated in to English. It's also quite short recipe which makes me assume that it's a simple process... but I've seen it done on Great British Bake Off and it looks like a 'mare to keep them in shape! My sister actually has a doughnut making machine so I'll see if she's still got it, because I wanna bake me some doughnuts! 

I've always wanted to try homemade marshmallows, I bet they are so fluffy! Check out this recipe for Birthday Cake Marshmallows complete with sprinkles!

party ideas

The pink ice in the margarita cocktail glass is a champagne granita. My mum used to make strawberry granita from a Delia Smith cookbook, it tasted so good! If you've never had granita before, the only way I can describe them is that they are like a really posh Slush Puppie or Snow Cone! It's not as watered down and the flavours are much purer and less artificial as it's made with a lot more natural ingredients.

Last, but not least, the strawberry milk! This is not so much a recipe but an idea on how to present food and drink at a kid's party. I don't have children and I won't be organising a party for a child any time soon but I just thought that this blogpost was really sweet and full of ideas for parents who want to do things a bit differently.

You can view more of the same over on my Pinterest board. I have on that's an overall food and drinks board, and then another one that has more of a theme to it: Pastel Coloured Sweet Treats! Mmmm! Drool! Definitely have a look as I'll be adding more to it each day!

Do you have a food board on Pinterest? Feel free to share you link in the comment box below!

Image credit: SprinkleBakes, Carnets Parisiens, Sweet Style, The Kitchn, Made By Mary

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Flamingo Candles | Autumn/Winter Fragrances


I'm still working through the Flamingo Candles I got earlier on in the year from their candy shop collection and needless to say, they smells delicious! The candles themselves look great, I love the square glass jars and each candle has a different coloured perspex flamingo on it, which looks really cute! I've got five Flamingo Candles now and they look so good lined up side by side. 

My new candles are both a similar shade of green and as they fragrances are both apple based, so they smell fairly similar too. The one with the black flamingo is Cinnamon Appleberry and the one with the gold flamingo on it is Applecurrant Crumble. 

Monday, 27 October 2014

A Day Out In Newcastle | Photo Diary

Theatre Royal Newcastle, Georgian Architecture

A Day Out In Newcastle

We hadn't been to Newcastle for months so on a whim, we decided to take the train and get ourselves to the Toon! I love getting the train in because I got to walk in to the town and take it all in.

As familiar I am with Newcastle, I definitely take it for granted, especially when I lived there and now I really appreciate every single bit of it when I visit! This time, I wasn't pacing around in a rush like I normally am so I took that time to look up and for the first time noticed how beautiful the building are. 

Maybe, when I was younger (AKA self-involved University student!), I didn't appreciate things like that back then but these days, I find myself literally looking up and value the surroundings a lot more!

Sunday, 26 October 2014

L'Artisan Parfumeur | Sale on Vente Privee

l'artisan parfumeur sale, coeur de sacre perfume, poivre piquant perfume
l'artisan parfumeur sale, coeur de sacre perfume, poivre piquant perfume
l'artisan perfumeur l'atuomne candle

L'Artisan Parfumeur* - DISCOUNT SALE on Vente Privee

L'Artisan Parfumeur is a brand that oozes pure luxury so when Vente Privee asked if I would like to try a selection of L'Artisan Parfumeur, I jumped at the chance! There is a huge sale L'Artisan Parfumeur on Vente Privee from 26th October to the 31st October with P&P only £5.00. Up to 65% off, it's definitely worth having a look at what you can pick up for Christmas! Meanwhile, I was sent two unisex perfumes and a gorgeous candle to try!

Coeur De Vetiver Sacre Eau De Toilette (RRP £55. Vente Privee flash sale price £25)
I usually like my perfumes to be light and fruity so I get worried when I see perfume that is dark in colour because I associate it with a mature, rich, woody scent. Coeur De Vetiver Sacre is actually a really pretty fragrance with the dry down smelling warm and gingery. It's opening fragrance is woody at first but it's not overly strong. The base is a smokey vetiver with a top note of orange, bergamot, tarragon, pink pepper, grapefruit and ginger - and the spice of ginger really comes through and stays with you. The heart notes are dried apricot, black tea, coriander, musk, sandalwood, amber and vanilla. 

Poivre Piquant Eau De Toilette (RRP £70. Vente Privee flash sale price £25)
Visually, this looks more like my kind of thing. It's a thinner, taller bottle than Coeur De Vetiver, with a lighter coloured perfume in. Even though it says on site that this is a men's perfume, I think it's actually unisex and Poivre Piquant is definitely geared towards the feminine scent. The opening fragrance is definitely peppercorns, it's the first smell that hits you and then that fades into a beautiful silky, powdery sweet floral scent with notes of milk, liquorice and honey. It's definitely a sweeter perfume than Coeur De Sacre, Poivre Piquant is my favourite out of the two.

L'Automne Candle
"Recreate in your own home this special muffled atmosphere, where leaves on the ground soften the sound of footsteps. The air is getting fresher and more humid, the light is getting paler, comforting as the wind picks up."

That's the official blurb for this Autumn candle. The fragrance doesn't strike me as Autumnal at first but the notes are caramel, chestnuts, blackberry and cedar. The overall smell is not as sweet as you'd think but I can definitely smell the caramel in it and it's lovely! The vessel design is handmade by ceramicist and it's a beautiful, stylish silver with a rustic finish. I've got a lot of candles but none of them as shiny and fancy as this! I don't think it's a soy wax candle but I'll reserve this one for special occasions only. L'Artisan Candles are at a 50% discount on Vente Privee, so definitely worth having have a browse!

L'Artisan Parfumeur products are having a sale on Vente Privee, which is good timing for Christmas! So head on over there and see what lovely goodies you can bag! 

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Saturday, 25 October 2014

Mini LUSH Haul | Christmas Bath Products

lush haul christmas, lush christmas bath products, lush cosmetics 2014 christmas
lush christmas eve bubble bar, lush ickle baby bot, best lush product
lush ickle baby bot
lush dashing santa

A couple of weeks ago, I featured some Lush Christmas products to show you guys what they have got in store for the next couple of months but also to process in my mind what everything is and what ingredients the products contain. I visited the Lush shop this week to check out the festive collection for myself and it is all looking so good! Although, I didn't want to buy too much for now (I'm going back in November when I'm feeling more Christmassy!), I did treat myself to a few bath products! 

As you can see, I bought a Dashing Santa bath bomb (£2.95), a Christmas Eve bubble bar (£2.95) and an Ickle Baby Bot (£1.95). I know the bath bombs are more exciting to use but I find that some can really irritate my skin so I have to be careful with which ones I buy but my favourite type of product from Lush are the bubble bars. I think they are the best Lush products because you can break the bubble bars into chunks and get a few uses out of them. I usually break them in to quarter or a third, depending on the size of the original bar but a small blob of it bubbles up really nicely! There are so many that I want but I went for the Christmas Eve bubble bar as it has a nice jasmine and ylang ylang fragrance - familiar fragrances for a relaxing bath!

Doesn't Dashing Santa bath bomb look absolutely perfect to get you in the mood for Christmas! It fizzes gently and turns the water a orangey red colour with a sparkly gold shimmer. In the solid form, it smells really subtle but when dissolved in the bath, it releases a mix of citrus fragrances. This bath bomb contains mandarin oil, bergamot and orange flower.

Ickle Baby Bot  isn't  from the Christmas range but the little cutie has been on my wishlist since the Summer so I thought I'd finally pick one up. It is super cute! I don't know why it has taken my this long because at £1.95, it's one of Lush's cheapest bath bombs. Ickle Baby Bot bath bomb is a soothing blend of lavender, chamomile and sandalwood. There is a Christmas equivalent of the Ickle Baby Bot which comes in the form of a white polar bear (also £1.95) and I've heard lovely things about it, but I wanted something more colourful this time!

Which Lush products do you recommend? What's the best Lush product you've ever tried?


Thursday, 23 October 2014

Blogging Advice: 5 Tips On How To Start A Blog

Have you been toying with the idea of starting a blog but you're not quite sure where to begin? Starting a blog is an overwhelming process and even with a sea of bloggers out there, it still feels lonely and scary to put yourself out there! There are so many aspects to think about but here are some tips to help and inspire you to start a blog today!

five tips on how to start a blog

Where to start? 
Buy a notebook and jot down some ideas on what you would like to blog about. It can be absolutely anything you like as long as you have a genuine interest for the subject. It doesn't have to be one particular subject if you don't want it to be - but I have found that it's better for the reader to visit your blog knowing what to expect. The beginning stage of starting a blog is where you can be creative and experimental until you find your feet. I've got a huge list of blogs that I read which includes film, food, travel, lifestyle, tech, photography and of course, fashion and beauty. It's fine to take inspiration from your favourite bloggers but don't worry about following the crowd. Go with what you're most comfortable with and passionate about, and this is where you will shine!

There is also the task of coming up with a name for your blog. This is the part I dislike the most because there is such pressure to get it "right". You might want to purchase a domain for it or make business cards, so think of a name you want to stick with for a while. I came up with a hundreds of names but I got bored with them all within a day. It would be awesome to have it mean something to you - but having said that - my blog name isn't personal to me, it's the name of a Paul McCartney song (a very annoying one, but it's punchy and it just stuck in my head!). As a starting point, imagine the header on your site, say the name out loud, ask people for feedback and have other people say it out loud. If it makes you cringe, move on to the next name you've got in mind. You'll KNOW when you've got it right!

advice on how to start a blog, blog business card

Which platform to use?
The word on the street is that Wordpress is miles better than Blogger, and I'm sure it is. So why am I still on Blogger? Why haven't I moved over to Wordpress? Partly because I'm scared of change, but for the most part, I find Blogger a lot easier to use. I may the only one on this opinion but I like the comment system on it too. I've got an account with Wordpress and I've tested it out but it didn't feel right for me at the time. Maybe I need to give it another chance! Both platforms are the major ones that everyone has heard of, and both has it's pros and cons, but my advice is to sign up to them and get a feel of what YOU prefer. You can always switch from one to another if, a few years down the line, you've changed your mind!

How to create content for your blog?
That notebook I told you to jot down initial ideas in? Keep it purely for blogging and add blog-related notes as you go along, and make lists to help you stay organised (blogging requires good organisation skills!). You might want to make use of your phone or tablet for note making but I definitely prefer the old pen and paper! With a book full of ideas, you can refer back to them at any time and turn them into an article on your blog. It's also advisable to write down technical tips too like html or photography advice but these things will come naturally to you once you've done it for quite some time, don't worry.

It's important to keep the format of your blogposts the same so ensure your photos line up, use the same font type and colour throughout the blog. This makes it easier for you each time you draft a blogpost, you'll know where you want everything to be. 

tips and advice on how to start a blog, staring a blog

How to gain readers?
There's no quick hit for this and I think you'll know that it won't happen overnight but familiarity and regular content is a good start. You don't have to blog every single day but try to keep up with a regular schedule. Go at your own pace to begin with and then if momentum picks up, then it's a bonus! If you only want to write two blog posts a week, pick two days and stick to it. This will let your readers know when to come back to your blog too! 

Once they're on your blog, give them something to stick around for. Customise your blog layout to how you want it to look but like I said in the previous advice, keep the aesthetics of your actual posts consistent so that it's user-friendly - so again, large photos that line up and text that is easy to read. Stay away from fancy, neon coloured fonts.

Promoting your blog is something I will write about soon, as it's a whole subject that I can go on and on about, so stay tuned for that!

But...What If?:
Is it the 'what if' questions that's stopping you from starting a blog? There is literally no limit to blogging, and blogging isn't restricted to a certain personality, age, look, race, size, genre of interest. And don't let anyone tell you otherwise! As long as you have computer/laptop and a head full of ideas, anyone can start blogging at any given anytime!

You might be a worrier like I am but remember that sometimes it is really rewarding to take a leap of faith. I could definitely use some of my own advice here, but thoughts that might run through your mind could be "What if you receive a negative comments? What if my friends and family find out and think it's stupid? What if this happens, what if that happens, what if people shout at me for a spelling mistake, what if something goes wrong, what if I'm not good enough, what if I'm not pretty enough, what if I'm not clever enough, what if, what if, what if". Those were my exact same thoughts (sometimes, it still is) and for the first three years of my blog, no one knew what I looked like and I was adamant that I would never ever show my face on here. I was scared and I didn't feel confident enough. Even now, before I hit the 'publish' button on each and every outfit post, I still feel a teeny bit nervous. I think I'm still getting used the idea myself, but the process of creating content is something I really enjoy. It's supposed to be fun and you will learn new things as you go along.

I am such a 'cup half empty' person (oh, I am a bundle of joy, I am!!) but it's the blog that actually helps in keeping me positive and that's a really good reason to start a blog! Now lets turn those negative 'what if's' into really positive ones! ...What if something really good comes out of blogging? What if it leads you to do amazing things? What if you meet some awesome people? What if you actually learn lots of new skills? What if it becomes one of the best decisions you've ever made? What if it helps you overcome certain things in your life? ...

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Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Designer VS High Street: Quirky, Novelty Bags

moschino fast food, quirky bags, novelty bags, quirky accessories

Here's what's hot right now! Quirky statement bags! Now, novelty bags has been around for years, it's not a new thing at all but because it has been all over the catwalk this year, everyone's going mad for them! Some may think it's tacky... and truth be told, I think that's the whole point, but I'd prefer to use the word 'kitsch' rather than tacky. But potato, potahto! Certainly, in a society where fashion takes itself far too seriously, it's these quirky accessories designs that takes the edge off a bit. I interned at an accessory company who created and sold designs like this and it was honestly the best place to work in the entire world! So I can only imagine how fun it must be to design these bags! I saw the Moschino fast food accessories in Selfridges a couple of weeks ago and obviously, it's something I can only admire through the glass display but this particular collection stuck out like a sore a good way! I spotted it while I was on the escalators and thought "ooh, I MUST check that out!"

Having spent an hour doing a bit of virtual window shopping, I found a bunch of high street version of fun, novelty bags. After having a crappy, miserable day, finding these quirky accessories on the shopping sites picked up my mood (I am a simple being!) so I thought I'd gather my favourite ones and put them in to a blogpost for you! Here are some budget-friendly options!

quirky bags, novelty bags, quirky accessories

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Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Alternative To Apple iPad Mini? Gigaset Tablet QV830 Review

An Alternative To Apple iPad Mini

Tablets are one of those products that we don't really need but once you get one, it's surprising how attached you become to it. It is no wonder we're so hooked when it has the abilities to entertain, educate, socialise and work from it. I clutch on to mine everywhere where I go!

I'm one of those (annoying) people who's super loyal to Apple products, and I have to admit that when I have my heart set on an Apple device, I won't even look at alternative products. Call me simple but I love how easy Apple products are to use and they do last a long time until they eventually die on you! (All good things must come to an end! *Sob*)

However, in the last couple of years though, I have had a gripe at their increasing prices (haven't we all!) and this naturally enabled me to look elsewhere for an alternative. There are so many different options now, all the brands are doing a brilliant job catching up with Apple. I've actually found myself avoided going in to the Apple shop for a while... I still love them but I'll part ways for now until y'know, I win the lottery or something! Ignorance is bliss! 

This past fortnight, I have been cheating on Apple with Gigaset QV830 tablet*, and here's the lowdown!

gigaset qv830 tablet review

To start off with, it only comes in black and 8GB storage space. This will save you time in pondering about which colour to buy and which spec to go for!

Size wise, the Gigaset Tablet has an 8" screen and is really similar to the iPad Mini which measures in at 7.87". I've placed a nuuna notebook between them to show that it's as neat and compact as an actual notebook. I like the size of these types of tablet which fits in to your bag and is lightweight to hold and carry around with you wherever you go. It was really easy to set up too - that's the bit I dread the most so I was happy to get this part out of the way, but it wasn't as painful as I thought it would be! Upon switching the Gigaset QC830 Tablet on for the first time, it guides you through a step-by-step on how to connect with Wi-Fi. It also connects a lot of things to your Google account, so make sure you've already signed up - it will make things a lot easier, but not to worry if you haven't got an account! You can set one up there and then!

gigaset qv830 tablet,

I'm really not familiar with Android and it took me days to get used to it which, of course, was slightly frustrated. Once I got to grips with the navigation, the Tablet became more personal to me as I added my favourite apps via Google Play Store. I had exactly the same as the ones I've got on my iPad: Chrome, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Tumblr, 4oD, TV Catch Up, YouTube, and all the other apps that keeps me entertained! I could do the exact same things from my usual @tempsec accounts but one thing I didn't do was install the apps I've already paid for on App Store such as like AfterLight and A Beautiful Mess because I would have been required to pay for them again via Google Play, so I just left those for now.

tablet for blogging, blogging tablet

If you're a blogger, you might be interested in the Blogger app. Personally, I don't write my blogposts from smartphone or tablet devices, I find it incredibly limiting and difficult to keep everything aligned and uniformed - but the choice to use the app is there is you need it! It might come in handy to draft rough ideas when inspiration hits you while you're on the go. 

From the Chrome browser, I could continue to read blogs and articles, and leave comments or join in with discussions.

The screen resolution is decent at 1024 x 768, and 160pixels per inch. It is touch screen with all the intuitive and responsive tap, swipe and pinch controls. There is a front and back camera too. The back camera is 5 megapixels and the webcam is 1.2 mega pixels - both which matches the same camera spec as my iPad Mini. 

The battery life is supposed to last eight hours but on a full charge, I found that it lasted around 4-5 hours. Perhaps I didn't do the things that you have to do in order to prolong battery life like quitting apps and turning down the brightness of the screen, but I struggle to make it last the eight hours that it claims. Still, 4-5 hours is still a pretty long time, so I'm happy with that!

There are a lot of specs and features that are either similar or exactly the same as the iPad Mini and you might think the Gigaset will come at an equally expensive price tag. Surprisingly, the Gigaset Tablet retails at £99.99 and in fact, it's currently on offer at Curry's right now for £69.99 at the moment! I think it's a great price for a device that does so much, and you don't have to feel guilty for buying it or putting it on your Christmas wishlist! I sure felt the buyer's remorse when I got my iPad because it initially felt like an expensive toy as I already have an iPhone and a laptop. Although I do use it a lot for work, and it goes everywhere with me on meetings and long journeys (laptop is too heavy to carry!) I have eventually got my money's worth! I just wish I had shopped around for an iPad alternative because if I had opened my eyes, I would have noticed that there are some great products out there for a cheaper price. I shall not be an Apple snob no more! 

Now, here comes the best bit! I have one to GIVE AWAY! 

All you have to is submit your entries via Rafflecopter below!

Please remember to adhere to the entry terms as they will be moderated. The prize will be a brand new Gigaset QV830 Tablet in black and this giveaway is open to UK residents only. You can enter as many times as you want, the options will show up on Rafflecopter. The more entries you submit, the more chances to win. 

Competition is for the product shown above and detailed above in this blogpost (one Gigaset QV830 tablet in black). Entries must be made via Rafflecopter widget. Entries are moderated so please ensure that adhere to the giveaway entry terms. We reserve the rights to amend or withdraw offers at any time. No cash alternatives are available. Free prize draw, no purchase necessary. Giveaway will end on the date stated on the Rafflecopter widget. One winner will be selected from Rafflecopter after the closing date to receiving one box of this prize set. I will contact the winner via email after closing date, the details of which will only be used to post your prize to you. Please allow up to 14 days for delivery. A new winner will be selected if we do not receive an email respond within 3 working days. This giveaway is open to UK residents only.

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