Smells Like Magic* – Maple and Whisky Candle Review

I can’t believe that exactly one year ago Matthew and I were having the most magical time in Walt Disney World! I mean, I know we’ve had the craziest and most incredible year since then, but it still sucks.

In the crazy last year we’ve had though, we did buy our first house, and we’ve spent a lot of time turning it into the home that we love, with a big part of that being adding magical touches throughout to remind ourselves of our favourite places.

Maple and Whisky produce the most incredible scented candles inspired by your favourite Disney memories, including park foods like Mickey Waffles, rides like Soarin’ and resorts like The Grand. Quite frankly, if there’s a smell in a Disney park that you love, chances are, they’ve got it!

I’ve been a lover of Maple and Whisky for a few years now – I’ve got a constant stock of their wax melts on hand! – and they were super kind recently to send me three candles of my choosing to review, which meant I could fill the new house with some magical smells, although the hardest part was choosing just three! I took the opportunity to try two scents I’ve never had before, and to also get a new jar of my favourite M+W scent, Campfire Singalong.

Campfire Singalong smells truly of just that. Imagine toasting marshmallows and melting chocolate on an open fire at a Disney resort, and that’s what this is in a jar – its heavenly! For me, this is the ultimate autumn/winter candle as it fills the room with a wonderful warm scent and glow, but be warned, may cause chocolate cravings!

The second scent I chose was Beach Club, inspired by its eponymous Walt Disney World resort, and I chose it because our of all the resorts in WDW, this is my dream resort which I would absolutely LOVE to stay in one day! The smell is fresh and clean and it really does make me feel like I’ve just stepped into the air-conditioned lobby while taking a walk around the Boardwalk resort loop.

Finally, I picked Spirit of Aloha, which is inspired by the smell of the lobby at Disney’s Polynesian Resort. This time last year when we were in WDW was when Matthew and I joined Disney Vacation Club, and Polynesian is our home resort, so I wanted a candle to remind us of our second ‘home’! Not being the biggest fan of pineapple (and not having a super clear memory in my head of what the resort smelt like), I was slightly worried that I wouldn’t like this one, but actually its lovely! The pineapple is there, but its not at all in your face and is nicely balanced with hints of coconut.

Maple and Whisky offer candles in two sizes, 8oz and 12oz, as well as wax melts, room sprays and reed diffusers. The candles I received were the 8oz size, and they last a good long while! They’ve recently changed the design of their labels, so these aren’t exactly what they look like now but the new labels are even better!

What I absolutely love about these over other scented candles is that not only do they smell amazing up close, but they actually fill the whole room with their glorious scents, and that happens almost instantly, whereas even some big brand candles only smell when you stick your nose into the jar! I would absolutely recommend these candles, and as well as these scents some of my favourites are Adventure is Out There (grape soda scented), Butterbeer (for the Potterheads), Rice Krispie Treats and Sugar Rush! Head on over to their Etsy store to see more!

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*I was sent these candles for the purpose of review, but all words and views are my own.

The Reality of Relocating

Moving house can be a stressful time for anyone, whether it’s your first or hundredth time. Ok, so maybe you’ll have it nailed by your hundredth time, but you know what I mean.

You are, quite literally, packing up a life, and all of the moments and memories that go with it, into boxes and bags, and taking that life somewhere else. For a lot of people, that somewhere else probably isn’t all that far from where it was before, but when you’re relocating, that life of yours in boxes has got a hell of a way to go.Choosing to relocate wasn’t actually a difficult decision for me because I always knew it was coming, I just didn’t necessarily know exactly where it would be to, but quite honestly, the relocation side of things got a little bit lost in the excitement of buying the house, so it’s only been since actually moving in that the reality of relocating has actually dawned on me.I have to use a satnav to drive EVERYWHERE. The only place I can get to without it is the supermarket and even then I’m lucky because I only have to drive down two roads to get there. I don’t actually know where my nearest A&E department is, so here’s praying I don’t need it any time soon, and I also need to find a GP surgery, dentist and opticians nearby because I can’t really drive the 4 hours back to my current ones..I also have an endless list of things I need to update, from my driving licence to my bank accounts, credit cars, car insurance plus delivery addresses on all of my regular online stores. I’m quite lucky that my previous address is my parents house, so if any posts ends up there it’s not the end of the world, but it’s such an important thing to sort out if not.Criminally, I now have no idea what the good takeaway places are. So far I know we have a Dominos, and we’ve had a decent fish and chips, but there’s been one awful Chinese and that makes me quite sad. I do feel a little isolated. It’s the first time I’ve lived away from my family ever, and as even Matthew’s been working away over the last few weeks I have been somewhat on my own. I mean, I’m pretty good with my own company, but it’s a little bit hard not knowing where I am too well and also not having anyone to explore with, but these things will come with time.Now none of this is to say that this has been a bad experience for me at all, in fact I’ve relished the challenge of it, but it is a completely new life that I’m having to make now, and I think until that life is built properly I probably will feel a little displaced, but you know that they say, all good things to those who wait..

Moving In Update #3 – I’m In!

Well gang, after all this time I have officially been living in our new house for almost two weeks now, yay! I had my last day at work on July 6th, and moved up on the 9th, so here I am, official northerner now.

Since then, however, I haven’t had much of a chance to stop and breathe. The first week was a blur of multiple Ikea and B&Q trips, drilling holes and going through so many packs of wall plugs and command strips I lost count, but all that work means that we are now pretty much finished with every room in the house!

There’s still a few bugs to work out; we still have no internet which is part of the reason I’ve not been blogging in all this time, because I’m having to tether my laptop to the 4G on my phone which has DRAINED my data allowance – its crazy to think about how reliant we are on wifi now! We’re also still lacking a dining table and chairs, so we’re still eating on the sofa or off the coffee table, but in reality that’s just because we keep forgetting to order them, and we have yet to get a washing machine, so laundry involves either going to Matthew’s mum’s, or as I’ve been going back to Bournemouth on weekends for hospital appointments, taking a basket of washing to do at my parents!

Apart from these little things, our to-do list is getting considerably smaller, and is mainly small things like shelves needing to be put up, actually unpacking the boxes that are building up in our garage and getting more decorative items up and around, but this has really become our space now.

I’ve still not really had much of a chance to stop and relax, but I’m hoping this next week might be the week I can actually start working through the list of things I wanted to get done once I moved in. I’ve got so much house content planned, including full before and after posts on some of our rooms, how we got some of the amazing bargains that we did and so much more, so I really hope you’re not getting too bored of this stuff yet because it has only really started!

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Things You Will Need On Moving Day

Ok, so you won’t need all this

Although I’m technically still in the process of flying the nest, Matthew and I have already had our first moving day into our new house, and for me, it was my first ever moving day.

Having never moved out from my parents until now, I had absolutely no idea what to expect, and as our moving process has been a slow one and we didn’t have to do it all in one weekend, I wasn’t even very sure about what we’d necessarily need to bring to the house with us straight away. Luckily, we had my mum and dad to help out with some of the basics, but there were also a number of things that no one thought about, so whether you’re moving for the first time or the hundredth time, here are the things I’ve learned that you will need in your new place from day one.

Toilet paper

If it wasn’t for my dad, we would have all been caught short in our house when we arrived. Even if its just a couple of rolls to cover you until you can take a trip to the shops, its a necessity.

Hand soap

As well as for obvious reasons, moving house can be messy business. Dusty boxes, moving furniture, you name it, your hands will be covered it it.

Towels

This was something that we didn’t have on our first weekend, with the exception of the one towel I brought in my weekend bag for showering, and while I’d never thought towels to be a real necessity, every time I washed my hands I was stuck. If nothing else, chuck a couple of hand towels in the moving van.

Scissors

There will be more things that will need cutting than you could ever imagine, bring as many pairs as you own.

Bin bags

This seems obvious, but we managed to forget them. You can never have too many bin bags.

Basic tools

You probably don’t need the whole of B&Q at the ready, but your basics like screwdrivers, maybe a drill and a level will make your life a lot easier. The last thing you’re gonna want to do is have to run out to the shops when you want to put up a shelf there and then but don’t have the tools for the job.

Folding chairs/beanbags/cushions

If, like us, you’re moving for the first time and don’t have all your furniture yet, you’re going to need something to sit on, even if its just temporary. We didn’t have a sofa, or any dining chairs, but we did have a giant bean bag, and my dad also packed a couple of fold up camping chairs which meant we didn’t have to all sit on the floor while we ate out traditional moving day take out food.

I think moving day is probably a different experience for everyone, but hopefully these little tips will help with a couple of the little things that make moving so much less stressful!

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Our New Build Experience

I can’t actually remember at exactly what point Matthew and I started looking at houses, but I’m pretty sure we’ve always been set on a new build.

If I’m being perfectly honest, I’d never really thought about new builds before, probably because there aren’t so many new builds around where I’ve always lived, but Matthew was pretty set on wanting one, and as soon as we started looking, even just at photos online, I was pretty easily swayed.

We were very lucky in that moving up north gave us a much better range of houses within our budget – we could have never afforded a place in Bournemouth – and we quickly settled on one particular developer that we loved almost every single type of house they built: Bellway. We did look around some other homes from other developers, but we just found that Bellway had the nicest houses, but also the most relaxed and friendly sales staff.

We also very quickly found the house that we wanted – the Oakwood – and it was really just a case of finding an Oakwood in an area that we liked, although we cared more about getting the house than we cared about exactly where it was, so long as it was within the wider area which Matthew’s job needs him to be living in, and that was when we found our house.

One of the draws of a new build for most people is having the ability to choose many of the features of your house, such as the kitchen cabinets, bathroom tiles, carpets and flooring etc. Well, we didn’t quite manage that. Most of the big decisions about the house have to be made before a certain stage of the build, and as our house was already mainly built when when we put down our reservation fee, we didn’t get to choose the kitchen design or any of the bathroom tiles, but the only thing that really bothered me about that was that I don’t like the kitchen worktop, but the rest is absolutely fine. We did get to choose our carpets and flooring as those are pretty much the last things to be fitted in the house, and while we’ll probably replace the vinyl in the kitchen and bathrooms eventually, we really like the choices that we made and they suit the rest of the house really well.

The good thing about the build being started before we bought it was that there were a lot of incentives thrown in. When developers are on a tight timeframe for completing a development, they really want to sell off the houses that are already built before they start on the next batch, and that was basically exactly what happened with ours. Before we’d even seen the house, they’d already upgraded the kitchen to include some appliances that normally aren’t included as standard, such as a fridge-freezer and dishwasher, and when we were looking at putting down the reservation fee, they agreed to also throw in turf and fences for the garden, as well as paying our stamp duty, which saved us a bunch! We did choose to pay for a few additional extras – downlights in the kitchen, and a shaver socket in the bathroom – but that was it for us as they had to be paid for up front.

Annoyingly, due to work being done every time we went up, we didn’t get to actually go inside our house until our official home demo – where the site manager shows us around and explains how to open the windows, where the fuse box in etc – but actually it was nice to just see it all finished.

Really, we had a pretty smooth experience. It was less than 3 months from seeing the house for the first time to completing, and that was a blessing really as buying somewhere so far from where we live right now could have been a nightmare.

There’s going to be so much more house content coming soon, so stay tuned!

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DIY Geometric Feature Wall

So after sharing pictures of the wall we painted in our guest bedroom on Twitter I had an influx of people asking about how we did it, so here it is!

The fabulous thing about this geometric paint style is that it looks so cool but its actually surprisingly quick and simple to do, its just a case of knowing what you need, and what you need to do, and hopefully I’ll cover all that in this post.

So the things you’ll need:

  • Frog Tape – this is an absolute must, and this is the only thing where I feel really strongly about not cheaping out on. Regular masking tape will not give you completely clean lines as often paint will creep underneath the edges of the tape, but Frog Tape is treated with something that stops this from happening – I swear this post is not sponsored so please take my advice on this. You need the green tape (it also comes in yellow and orange, but its the green that you need for this), and for our wall we used the widest of the three sizes that B&Q keep in stock.
  • Your paint choices – we opted for 3 colours and got 1L of each, but obviously you can have as many or few colours as you like – I’ve seen similar things on Pinterest where people just paint one colour and have the lines as the statement!
  • Rollers/paint brushes, trays, dust sheets etc – y’know, the usual painting kit

Because our house is a new build, it already had a lovely fresh white wall for us to paint over, but if you’re not in the same position then make sure you paint your wall and let it dry properly before getting started on the pattern. Also don’t feel as though you have to have a white backdrop, you could do this with any colour, but if you’re going to use a darker background, you’ll want to do a coat of primer over your pattern before you start on the colours to make sure your background doesn’t show through.

So we started off by taping around the whole edge of the wall to create an outside border. This is totally optional but it gives it a nice edge and saves painful hours of cutting in so I do recommend it. Be sure to also tape around any sockets or switches.

Now the actual pattern we completely improvised. If you want to plan it before you start taping then that’s fine, but we actually were happier making it up as we went along, and the beauty of tape meant that if we did change our mind on a certain line, you just rip it back off and do it again. With a triangle pattern, the one thing I would say to keep an eye out for is that no three triangles have the same border line if you’re using three colours as we did, otherwise you’d end up with two triangles of the same colour touching, so just watch out.

Once we were happy with the pattern, we took a little bit of tape and wrote the colours on them so we could mark out which triangle was going to be which colour, again just to be sure that we didn’t end up with the same colour touching, and also just to make sure we had a good balance of the colours. Before you start to paint just double check that all of the tape is well stuck to the wall by smoothing over it all again.

Working one colour at a time, its just a case of filling in the gaps! When you’re only painting a few little shapes its amazing how much quicker it seems to take compared to painting a whole wall one single colour. Don’t worry about going over the edge of the tape a little bit with the paint, in fact you’re better off doing that to make sure you’ve filled right up to the edge of the shape.

Wait until you’ve painted in all of the colours, but be sure to peel the tape off before the paint has completely dried as this will prevent you pulling up any paint by accident with your tape. Start by peeling the pattern, and leave the outside border to last to peel, and most importantly take your time with the peeling. You don’t want to rush and end up flicking paint into the wrong section or getting tape stuck on wet paint.

Once you’ve peeled everything back off, you’re pretty much set, just allow plenty of time for the paint to dry fully before you do anything else to the wall!

 

So just to recap on the key points that I think are crucial to making this as perfect and painfree as possible:

  • Frog Tape is a must, do not risk using regular masking tape
  • You don’t have to overplan the pattern, in fact improvising can be easier
  • Peel the tape off before the paint dries completely
  • Having a border around the edge of the design saves a lot of time

For anyone wondering, we used Valspar paint in You’re Blushing, Angel’s Sigh and Petite Pirouette, as shown below:

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Mahabis Slippers – The Best Thing Ever?

From the first time I saw the advert on the tv, I knew I needed these slippers, and when I got my annual bonus back in March, I treated myself to a pair of Mahabis.

To the untrained eye, these might just seem like a regular pair of slippers, but the beauty of Mahabis is that each pair comes with a pair of rubber soles that clip onto the bottom of your slippers in a few quick seconds, meaning you can wear them outside without ruining the base of your slippers. The soles fit on with the help of a little popper at the back of each slipper, which you just attach through the little hole in the back of the sole, simple!

Now given that I love a good pair of slippers, and would happily wear them as my only footwear, the ability to wear slippers outside was super exciting to me. Now strictly speaking they’re only designed for light outdoor use, such as running out to get something from the car, taking the bins out etc, but the bases are pretty tough and I reckon they’d stand up to good wear – I actually wore mine on the drive home from Manchester last weekend and walked around Keele services in them no problem!

Oh, and if you’re wondering about the comfort, lets just say I could happily wear these all day! As you can see in the photos, they’re a bit more than a pump style, I’d describe them as being the slipper equivalent of a pair of Toms, with a lambswool lining that’s backed onto a synthetic base rather than sheepskin, and they’ve got a nice stretchy heel piece which is a little bit grippy also so there’s no risk of your feet coming out.

They’re a premium pair of slippers, but I honestly love them and am so glad that I treated myself to them. They also have some variations including a lighter design of ‘summer slipper’ and also a hardier pair of ‘outdoor slippers’, not to mention the fact that you can make your slippers fit your style with a range of colours of additional soles, including gold and pearl pink!

Are you a slipper person?

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