The Bits of Love Actually No One Talks About

Despite being a true lover of Christmas, I’m not really one for Christmas films, with the one exception of Love Actually. It’s festive, it’s feel good and it’s full of famous people, and I challenge anyone to not enjoy even just a tiny part of it.

Photo credit: Cosmopolitan

And while the movie is packed with lovely moments, romance in the air and Christmas is all around us (and so the feeling grows), there are details of the film that never seem to come up in conversation when you chat about how warm and fuzzy it makes you feel.

Harry is a scumbag, and Mia is the worst

She openly comes onto a married man, and while he plays the innocent and bewildered part, he acts on something that he knows is wrong, breaking the heart of his wife who does nothing to deserve such behaviour. Get in the bin.

Liam Neeson is cool with his stepson being gay

When Sam tells his stepdad that his troubles in life are due to him being in love, Daniel asks ‘and what does she – he – feel about you?’. Sure, Sam is in love with a girl, but the question is still open.

How Sarah has to cope with the stress of a loved one suffering from mental illness

We all cringe at the sound of that Nokia 3310 ringtone, and we all wish that she will get the guy she’s been secretly in love with forever, yet everyone seems to overlook the fact that she is going through so much with her brother, and in caring for him she loses out on such a big part of her own life. Not all heroes wear capes.

How inappropriate is it to tell your best friends WIFE that you’re in love with her

If he had really wanted a chance, he would have grown a pair and told her before they were even engaged, let alone married. But sure, show up on the doorstep, get her to lie about who’s there and make some ridiculous gesture that actually makes you look like a tosser, that’s cool too.

The abuse of power and sexual harassment of the president

This is more relevant this year than ever. Natalie is put in a position that no woman should ever be put in, and not only does she feel awful for it straight away, she does actually lose her job over it. I do, however, appreciate that Hugh Grant makes a point of calling out the president for being a bully, but that’s just not quite enough.

Why are a bunch of primary schools having their Christmas show on Christmas Eve?

If my school had told me we’d have to give up Christmas Eve-evening for a production involving lobsters, I’d be pretty mad.

Do you have any Love Actually pet peeves?

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Supershock with Colourpop

When it comes to the Colourpop hype, I think the products I’ve seen raved about the most is their Supershock eyeshadows, cue me adding them to my recent order.. I also came across the Supershock highlighter collection while in Sephora, and I think I’m in beauty blogger’s paradise.

As with most of Colourpop’s range, the packaging is fairly simple, which I have absolutely no gripes with as it just highlights the beauty of the product itself. The shadows are pressed with a gorgeous scale-like pattern, which I really hoped would hold out a little bit through use but as you can see below, I had no such like.

Top to bottom: Going Rogue, Flipper, One by One, Itty Bitty

While you can buy the eyeshadows individually, I chose a set of four called Phase Me Out, which saved me $2. The shades are a mix of finishes, with Itty Bitty being a matte/satin finish, Flipper is metallic and Going Rogue and One by One are described as pearlized, which is just a tad less sparkly than metallic. All of the shades compliment each other perfectly, and I chose them because I thought they were all right up my street in terms of what I would wear every day.

The formula is really creamy and super blendable, and in terms of pigment, just look at the swatches! The creaminess also means that there’s practically no fall-out and the shadows stay in place really well, even on unprimed skin, however the one thing that I did find slightly annoying was that because the formula is so creamy, I had to apply a lot of pressure to the product to actually get a good amount on the brush. This was fine for blending, because I prefer to start light and build if needed, it just meant that when trying to cover a larger area I kept having to go back for more.

Left to right: Wisp, Spoon, Over the Moon

The Supershock highlighters are all sold individually on the Colourpop website, but I picked up this set of three in Sephora – although the set was the same price as buying three individually! The packaging matches the eyeshadows, and the formula is just as soft to touch!

Over the Moon looks white from a distance, but as you can see from the swatch, its packed with purple-ish sparkle, giving it a unique duo-chrome finish which is also frost-like, perfect for Christmas! Spoon – which I think is a stupid name for a highlighter if you ask me – has a golden finish, although also has flecks of silver in it, and Wisp is similar, but has more of a champagne/bronze tone.

Again, I found that with the product being very buttery, it takes a bit of pressure to get anything on the brush, but the product is so vibrant that you really don’t need that much anyway!

The eyeshadows are $5 (£3.70ish) each or $18 for a set of 4, and the highlighters are $8 (£6), and yes if you order from the UK you’ll probably get stung with customs but I still think they’re so reasonably priced that its worth taking that hit – it’ll probably work out cheaper than some brands!

I’m well and truly on the Colourpop wagon, and I’m not at all ashamed!

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Working 9-5

It doesn’t feel like all that long ago I wrote about how I ditched regular working hours in favour of 12 hour shifts, but time’s a-changing again folks! No, I didn’t get fed up of the hours – in fact, I really did love doing the whole 3 days a week thing – but your girl’s gone and got herself a new job!

I’m still working for the same company, in the same building, but I have finally clawed my way out of customer service and I’m pleased to announce that I will now be an accounts administrator in the finance department, and that means Monday-Friday, 9-5, and for the first time ever in my working life.. NO MORE WEEKENDS! The job comes with better pay, better hours and more opportunities, and I already love the work.

And while I did love my old shift pattern, I finally have total stability; no more working Monday-Wednesday one week, then Monday, Thursday and Friday the next, and then throw in a few random weekend days each month. I’ve also been given the gift of some flexibility – if I need to come in a little later one day, I can do that and stay a little later. I’m not having to be in for an exact time and take my breaks at the set time I was given, and better still, I don’t have to speak to customers anymore, yippee! (I have worked in customer service for over 5 years and while I somewhat enjoyed the work and like the majority of customers, some can be downright rude)

I normally hate change, but this change is going to be so good for me. I’m already so much happier to go to work every day, and excited to get back to a proper routine of eating meals at normal times, and not being totally exhausted when I get home. I’m excited to have time to go to the gym in the morning and still have time to do my makeup rather than just running out of the house with my eyebrows just barely filled in. I’ll have time to catch up with people on social media and promote my small businesses and just feel a little bit more like my life is together.

This is going to be good for me.

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My Favourite Movies of 2017

2017 is drawing to a close, and while I feel like this has all happened very suddenly, a whole year has gone by since the last time every other conversation you have contains the question ‘where has this year gone?’.

As always, its been a year of box office hits, record setting, rising stars and red carpets as more movies have hit the big screen – some raved about, some not so much! – but there have been a number of stand of films that I feel like I haven’t had enough of an opportunity to rave about, so here goes..

Baywatch

Yes, we all knew this film was going to be a bit of a joke, but that didn’t stop me from loving it. It was funny, the cast was brilliant and despite the storyline being totally ridiculous, I was still rooting for the Baywatch team the whole way through.

Going In Style

I feel like this movie didn’t get much attention at all despite a stellar line up including Micheal Caine and Morgan Freeman. The storyline was unique, and although it was all in the interest of fun it did highlight some issues facing the older generation and I’m really glad we went to see this.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Finally the Pirates franchise is back where it should be. I was starting to lose faith after the last movie, but Disney have clawed their way back to the level these films should be at, and better yet we’ve got Orlando Bloom back!

Wonder Woman

I always proclaim that I’m a Marvel > DC kinda gal, but I really loved this film. The cinematography alone blew me away but I also thought that it had a great plot, a great cast and Gal Gadot is a true star in my eyes.

Beauty and the Beast

I know this film had Disney fans feeling all kinds of mixed things but I thought the movie was great. It was so true to the original animated film but also had so much more than that, without drawing away from the main story.

Murder on the Orient Express

When I saw this film announced, I was excited but I also had my doubts. For starters, I didn’t know how turning a well known plot into a big screen film was going to turn out, and I also questioned Kenneth Branagh as Poirot. Well its safe to say that I don’t have those doubts anymore. It was perfect; an absolute star studded cast, with Branagh playing the lead like it was made for him and although its a story I know the ending to I would see this again and again and again.

And we’re not even done with the year! I’ve got my Star Wars: The Last Jedi ticket booked for Thursday, I’ve yet to see Thor Ragnarok and also coming soon is Pitch Perfect 3 and The Greatest Showman, both of which are films I can’t wait to watch. What were your favourite new releases this year?

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Are We The Next Generation of ‘I Remember When..’?

Last Saturday I walked into the Apple Store in Southampton’s West Quay shopping centre to pick up my iPad Pro. Said iPad Pro had been ordered online the day before, and courtesy of a Black Friday deal I had been emailed an £80 gift card which I was going to use to buy an accompanying Apple Pencil.

Upon entering the store, I approached a staff member with an iPhone, who simply entered my order number and within minutes another staff member appeared from a back room with my iPad (pre-paid) and an Apple pencil. He scanned the barcode for my gift card straight from my email using his phone, and I paid the remainder by putting my card into a device attached to said phone. I entered my email address on the screen, my receipt was sent to that email address, and I was free to leave the store.

During my entire time in the store I did not have to go to a single desk. There was no collection point or checkout, no lines or waiting areas, but also no chaos, and I couldn’t help but think, is this the future of retail? Will shopping become as simple as walking up to someone with a handheld device and getting an email confirmation of payment before I’ve even walked away?

Naturally, my brain went to all sorts of extremes, and I started to think about all the other things that have changed in my relatively short lifetime. As a young child I had cassette tapes and experienced the struggle of going to watch a movie only to find that no one had re-wound it back to the start after the last time it was watched. Now, I have DVDs and Blurays that I’ll often ignore if I can watch the same movie on Netflix.

We spend our childhoods listening to our parents and grandparents telling us to be grateful for x, y and z because they didn’t have that back in their day, yet already we’re saying the same thing to those who are as little as 5-10 years our junior.

Now don’t get me wrong, there’s always going to be things that don’t translate across age groups. There will always be TV shows that only aired for a few years, or crazes and fashions that died out as quickly as they appeared, but think of the enormous lifestyle changes that technology has brought us – I’m talking going from brick-phones to flip-phones to smart-phones, from the days where you could probably only pay by cash or cheque to now not even having to carry your purse because you’ve got ApplePay..

Things are moving so quickly that I can’t even fathom how things will work in even just another 10 years time. Will we even have to consciously pay for things or will technology become so advanced that you can just pick something up from a shelf and walk out and be charged automatically? We’re moving so far past what we’ve known so far, I don’t think we can even try to predict the future anymore..

Sorry for the ramble but does anyone else ever think about these things?

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Colourpop Yes Please Palette

I cannot tell you how excited I am to finally have my hands on this palette. It was love at first sight.

Its yellow, it contains yellow, do I need to say any more? And yes, its probably one of the most hyped palettes of the last few months, and now I know why.

The majority of the shades are matte, although there are a few metallics in there too, and they all compliment each other so well – I swear you could put any two shades from this palette together and be onto a winner.

As per Colourpop standard, the formulas are soft and blend like a dream, and I cannot flaw the pigmentation of any of the shades. I love the fact that the browns aren’t too dark, but they are buildable if you do want to created a deeper shade, and that actually goes for all of the shades, although I think they all go on well with a single application.

What I love about this palette is that I would never normally buy a palette of these shades; I was drawn in by the packaging and one or two of the colours, but now I’ve actually had a chance to use it I love all of them. Its actually turned me into a warm-tone kinda gal and going into winter I am very excited for this.

Have you jumped on the Colourpop bandwagon yet?

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Things I’ve Learnt Since Becoming a Cat Owner

Its been almost 4 months since our furry companions came home with us, and quite frankly life hasn’t been the same since.

Now our kitten experience hasn’t been an entirely normal one given the circumstances. Ozzy and Ronnie are rescue kittens that were found, along with their 2 siblings, at 4 weeks old in an abandoned shed, and we don’t know if their mother was ever around in the first few weeks of their lives, but Cats Protection did a great job in looking after them until they could come home to us at 8 weeks. They were tiny and very timid, once upon a time, that is..

Now we have two fledgling little cats, and as the first cats that this household has seen, its safe to say we’ve learnt a lot in these last 4 months. Wanna know what?

No level is safe

Within the first few weeks of being home, these two little monsters had learned to shimmy up the curtains, and while they couldn’t really do much damage up there, they’re now perfectly capable, should they wish, to get up onto the kitchen worktop, dining table, banisters, and even now they’re trying to find out how to get on top of the fridge!

Cats can be needy as hell

I think this is just a kitten thing that they’ll grow out of, but Ronnie especially has to be wherever you are, even if this means squeezing his way onto the same chair that you’re sitting on..

They also want their space

It takes a cat about half a second to change their mind from wanting your attention to not wanting it. You’ll know.

You cannot eat anything in their presence

That is, unless you want company; open a packet of crisps and its like turning on a cat magnet. Even Ozzy, who is still timid at the best of times, will practically be on your lap if you have food out.

They sleep in the craziest positions

Stretched out like a sausage, belly in the air, spooning each other, sitting on each other’s heads..

Cats really do love boxes

It must just be in their DNA. The first box we ever left out for the boys they were in instantly. They simultaneously loved sitting in it but also destroying it. Cos, y’know, cats..

They also love keyboards

I get no peace if I’m sat with my laptop on the sofa, but they’ll even climb up onto a desk to walk across the keys if it takes their fancy. Spoiler alert, it always does.

You start to ignore bumps, bangs and crashes

At first, every little noise will have you running to see what’s been knocked over this time, but eventually it just becomes so common that you know you’ll find it inevitably. In any case if the cat comes running from the sound, you know they’re not hurt.

You’ll call them by a lot more than just their name

Ozzy, Oz, Oswald, Oz Monster, Dolphin Boy, Fluff, Little Fluff, Squish. Ronnie, Ron, Ronald, Baby Ron, Baby Ronald, Trouble, Silly Cat, Furry One, the list goes on..

Off-limits means nothing to a cat

Even if you shut a door to a cat, it doesn’t mean they’re not gonna find some way to get in there. Ozzy and Ronnie’s particular favourite is waiting until you have a basket of laundry in your hands and using that opportunity to sneak into the garage when you open the door..

And that’s just the start of it! Who knows what I’ll learn next..

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Can We Please Stop Making Our Pleasures ‘Guilty’?

This is something that I see on a near daily basis. ‘Listening to X is my biggest guilty pleasure!’, ‘I have an unhealthy obsession with X!’; we are constantly putting down the things we love. This is the official definition from Google:

‘guilty pleasure (noun)

something, such as a film, television programme, or piece of music, that one enjoys despite feeling that it is not generally held in high regard.’

Now I don’t know about you, but I can’t actually see anything in that definition that implies we should feel in the slightest bit bad about what we like. Sure, what we like might not be commonly appreciated, but that doesn’t mean to say we shouldn’t like it anyway.

So why do we call them guilty pleasures? Do we really feel bad about liking them? We certainly don’t seem to be too embarrassed by them if we’re tweeting about them or putting them our online profiles, so why not just own the fact that its something you like?

Its far from a secret that I love Disney, right? Well that’s because I talk about it all the time. I love talking about it, I even take pride in it, so when I see people claiming that Disney is their ‘biggest guilty pleasure’, I can’t help but take a little offence in the fact that they think its something that they should be embarrassed by or feel guilty about. I’ve talked before about referring to certain food as ‘guilty’ or ‘cheat food’, and personally I don’t think its any different when talking about other aspects of life. We’re imposing our own negative connotations, rather than just enjoying life.

If you love listening to Spice Girls, good for you! Like to put ketchup on pancakes? Ok! Just be confident in who you are and what you like.

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The Benefit Boi-ing Erase Case

I think we can all agree that when it comes to packaging, Benefit never fail to impress, and every time they release new products, I just want to snap as many photos of it as I can because it’ll just be so damn Instagrammable. The problem with that, however, is that it can get very expensive buying full sized products, and when a whole new range is released, you do always run the risk of there being some products that just don’t do it for you.

Well that was me with the new Boi-ing concealer range. I’ve never seemed to have any luck with concealers in the past, so when I was in Sephora a few weeks back and saw this adorable case of minis for only a little bit more than one full sized product, this felt like the ideal way to try and test each one properly!

The Erase Case was $26 (about £19), and contains each of Benefit’s newest concealers: Industrial Strength, Brightening, Hydrating and Airbrush in baby form, as well as this cute pencil case – which I’ve found is perfect for carrying brushes in when you travel! So what did I think of the products?

Hydrating Concealer

So this is the only sheer coverage concealer in the case, but personally I’m not sure it did anything for me and my dark circles other than a bit of moisturising.. I also like to keep things fairly matte when it comes to my skin, so the sheer finish just doesn’t really suit my look, but if you prefer a dewy finish and don’t have that much to conceal, this may be the one for you!

Industrial Strength Concealer

This was definitely more my cup of tea. High coverage, matte finish and super soft formula meant this was easy to work with and actually did a decent job of covering my dark circles but not looking too cakey and blending into the rest of my makeup nicely.

Airbrush Concealer

I found Airbrush very similar to Industrial Strength in terms of formula and shade, and despite being sold as a medium coverage concealer, I thought it covered just as well as its full coverage counterpart. I think this one is my favourite out of the bunch, smoothing over uneven patches with ease and its light formula means it doesn’t sink into creases like so many other concealers I’ve tried can.

Brightening Concealer

This was an odd one for me. On first opening the pot, I was adamant that I was not going to like this one. For starters, it was a much darker shade than the other concealers in the case, but also the formula was a lot stickier and I feared it would be too heavy for me. However, when I did actually give the product a proper try, I was pleasantly surprised. This is also a full coverage, but also has colour-correcting properties to help hide dark circles and blemishes, but it has a slightly sheer finish to it.

I bought the kit in shade 01 light, but as I mentioned earlier there are some differences between each of the products, which I thought was slightly odd, but they did all still work for me so I can’t complain too much about that!

Given that each product retails for about £17.50 at full size, and this kit is little more than that for all four, albeit minis, I think this is great value for money, and at least now I know which ones I’d buy again!

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I Can Be Body Positive While Still Wanting to Change Mine

2017 has been a huge year for body positivity. Its been at the forefront of a lot of brand campaigns, its been discussed a great deal more in the media and I’ve seen so many more people I know talking about it on social media and embracing it.

I think every girl knows what its like to hate their body. From a young age we’re faced with pressure to comply to certain body standards, and made to feel awful about ourselves if we don’t fit in. I actually remember lying about my weight when I was in primary school. That’s right, I was no older than 10 or 11 the first time I lied about my weight because I knew I weighed more than the other girls in my class and I didn’t want them to make fun of me.

I remember being nervous about going shopping with my friends when I started secondary school because I didn’t want them to see me picking up clothes that were sized larger than my age, and I remember one time, when I was finally passing my real chunky phase, feeling so happy that when my friends said I should try on a dress that I actually fit into my age/size. I wore t-shirts over bikinis at the beach when I was a teenager, especially if there were going to be boys around, and I’d always make sure I was behind the camera to ensure I was never caught in any photos.

Let’s just say, body positivity has never come easily for me, but I have never judged anyone else on their body. If I see any girl of any size doing her thing I’m like YASS GIRLLL OWN IT; I love seeing body positivity in others, and even if that person isn’t particularly body positive themselves, I’ll happily be their cheerleader.

Over the last few years, however, I have been learning to own my body. My confidence has been growing courtesy of going to the gym, getting fitter and eating better, and seeing the changes that has come from these actions. You see, I’m still trying to change my body to make it look how I’d like it to look, but that doesn’t make me any less positive. The changes that I’d like to see in my body are purely for me, because I want to feel healthier, but also because I want to love my body a little bit more, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be body positive now.

This year, for the first time ever, I posted a photo of myself in a bikini on social media. Hell, I even stood up in front of a whole bunch of people in said bikini for that photo to be taken. I’m wearing clothes I never thought I could wear because I’m more confident with my body. Yes, I’d like to be a little less squishy round the edges, but the fact is I’d be perfectly happy if my size didn’t change at all. I am body positive now, and I think you are all beautiful too.

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The Face Masks I’ve Been Loving Lately

Face masks are something that I’ve only recently really gotten into this year, but I’ve quickly become that girl that has a mask on most weeks, much to the amusement of my boyfriend..

For me, a face mask is not only a way for me to take care of my skin, but its also a little form of self-care and pampering, and let’s face it, they’re so easy! You can just slap one on, and then go about your regular business, whether its jumping in the bath, painting your nails or binge-watching some Netflix – although you may be limited in your facial expressions while you’re doing those things..

Here are a few of my top picks right now:

Lush’s Brazened Honey Fresh Face Mask

This is the first of Lush’s fresh face mask that I’ve bought (although I traded in my black pots for it, so technically it was free!), but one of the amazing members of staff at my local Lush store did a little consultation with me and helped me choose a few masks that suited my skin type, then tried them out on my hand so I could decide which one to take away with me, and this is the one that really took my fancy!

As with all Lush fresh face masks, you have to store it in the fridge, which means when it comes to using it, it feels so nice and cool on my skin. A little goes a long way too, so I got quite a few uses out of the small-looking tub! It smells fresh and the formula doubles as an exfoliant which washes away any dead skin and impurities, but its also really moisturising and has worked wonders for my skin!

L’Oreal’s Pure Clay Glow/Purity/Detox Masks

I mentioned these masks in my August samples post, but I am still loving them months later. I tend to mix and match the masks, using each mask on the area of my face that its properties help the most, which for me is Glow on my forehead, Detox under my eyes and across my cheeks, and Purity on my nose and chin, but as my skin can vary from dry to oily, I do quite a few different variations depending on how I’m feeling that day.

I particularly like how while the clay dries hard on my skin, I don’t find them at all drying as I had initially feared, and they’re also not at all claggy, despite being quite thick in their consistency.

Sephora Sheet Masks

I have yet to come across a Sephora mask I haven’t liked yet, but my favourites out of the ones I’ve used to far are the Green Tea and Pearl masks. For me, the great thing about these sheet masks as opposed to a traditional mask is that they don’t dry out at all while they’re on your face, and even once you’re done with the mask itself, it leaves product on your skin that can be rubbed in for extra nourishment.

What are your favourite face masks? I’d love to try something new if you’ve got any recommendations!

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Colourpop Amber Crystal Collection Review

So I’ve been wanting to jump on the Colourpop bandwagon for a while now, but with so many people talking about getting stung with the customs charges we all know and hate come with international shipping, I’ve held back. Well that was until I walked into Sephora in Disney Springs and discovered that they’re now stocking some Colourpop items.

As they were only stocking a very small selection, they didn’t have any of the palettes I’ve been eyeing up, so I decided to place an online order for those (to be delivered to the hotel), and pick up a few products I hadn’t seen before, and one of those was the Amber Crystal Collection bundle.

The bundle was $20 (about £16), which I thought was a pretty good price considering it contains 3 products: a setting spray, a liquid highlighter and a lip balm. The packaging seems a little simple from a distance, but when you take a proper look at it its really pretty and suits the products, and it doesn’t feel at all cheap like some packaging can.

One look at the lip balm and you might be thinking ‘um, that looks more like a lipstick to me?’, but don’t be fooled. Yes, it is tinted but only very subtly – so subtle, in fact that I couldn’t take a swatch photo – and gives more shine than it does colour. Its very light and glides on like a treat and the perfect product for a natural look, plus it smells amazing!

The next product in the box is the liquid highlighter, which again I would describe as being very subtle. It gives a peachy-gold, and believe it or not, amber-like shimmer, and while when you shake the bottle the formula seems very runny, it doesn’t come out that way at all. Again, while I did swatch this first, I couldn’t get a good photo as the shade is subtle and mainly gives off shimmer, offering a natural glow and living up to amber’s nickname of ‘liquid sunshine’!

The final product in the bundle is something that is very new to me, a setting spray – believe it or not, this is the first setting spray I have owned, so I can’t really compare it to any others but it does a good job at keeping my face together!

For $20, I personally don’t think you can go wrong with this little kit. Sure, its not packed with pigment like the majority of Colourpop’s products but if you’re not super into colour and prefer a more natural look, this is the perfect bundle for you.

I’ve got more Colourpop reviews coming up in the next few weeks so be sure to keep an eye out!

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Bringing the Movies Home*

We all know that going to the cinema these days is not exactly cheap. Chances are, you’re paying about £10 for your ticket alone, and then comes the popcorn craving, which of course means you’re gonna need the biggest drink they’ve got going, and suddenly you’re £20+ down. Ouch.

And sure, going to the cinema is the only way (legally!) to see the latest and greatest movies making their way to the screen, but personally I much prefer to be curled up on my own sofa when it comes to enjoying cinematic greatness. Luckily for us, technology is moving forward every day, and our TV screens are only getting bigger and better; first it was HD, now it’s 4K and OLED, and as I’m just about old enough to remember TVs being as deep as they were wide, screens like this Panasonic 4K Oled TV just blow my mind with how thin they are now, while still being packed with all these amazing features!

As a fan of a good movie marathon, over the years I’ve learned a lot about how you can make home seem like the cinema, just without saying goodbye to your bank balance in the process..

Get yourself cosy

I’ve always wondered why cinemas aren’t a lot more comfortable. For me, a blanket is a must, and I’ll probably be in my pyjamas, but you can do whatever you like – you could even build a movie den with duvets and cushions!

Have all your snacks at the ready

Cinema popcorn might cost a small fortune but at home you can make it for a fraction of the price, plus you can get more creative! Whatever snacks you get, be sure to have everything sorted before you hit play so you don’t have to pause the movie magic when you get peckish.

Limit the tech

There’s nothing worse than that person in the row in front at the movies who checks their Snapchat midway through the film, so if you can turn off your tech at the cinema, why not at home too?

Consider having a break

If you’re running a back to back marathon, don’t forget to allow time for toilet breaks or meals between films, especially if you’re trying to squeeze in a lot of films!

Set the mood

Turn the lights down, pull the curtains and shut out any distractions; this is your movie time.

Make the most of new technology

As I mentioned earlier, the tech behind making and watching movies has improved dramatically over even just the last few years, and if you have the tech, use it! I’m talking surround sound/sound bars for the ultimate sound experience, HD and Bluray for the ultimate visual experience, even 3D in some cases!

What do you do to have the ultimate movie night?

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*This post is a paid collaboration. All views are my own

Lottie Does Turns 4!

Four years ago to the day, I sat down and published my first ever post on this little blog of mine.

I always wanted to make something of my blog, but I don’t think back then I could have predicted just where I am today, and in a way I’m glad about that; I’m forever excited by every new development, and this year has been no different.

So how has my blog changed this year?

In many ways, I really found my stride with blogging last year, so there hasn’t been too much change in the grand scheme of things, but I’ve branched out a little more with the topics I’ve been writing about. Despite never claiming to be a beauty blogger, I’ve been writing a lot more reviews and beauty related posts, which to my amazement have been really popular, so I’ve gained so much confidence in that area.

I’ve also been getting a lot more personal. Back in August I published the most controversial post I’ve ever written when I talked about the shame that girls feel about being on their period, and even included a photo of myself with a blood stain on my trousers. I was so nervous to share my thoughts, but the response I got to it was phenomenal, and although it was upsetting to see that so many people have had similar experiences and often feel the same way I did, it was also incredible to see so many people open up and agree with the message behind the post.

What’s next?

Well I’m just gonna keep being me and see where the future takes me. In the next year there’s going to be some huge change in my life and while I’m not a person who’s particularly keen on change, it gives me a sense of relief knowing that I’ll always have this blog as an outlet for me to share everything I’m going through, and a community that I can rely on.

Once again, I find myself thinking about everyone who supports me and this blog, from the people who read it daily to those who are coming to my blog for the first time. It might sound cliche but every single person who comes here to read my ramblings makes my day. You are a huge part of the reason that I do what I do.

To say thank you to you lovely bunch of human beings, I’ve put together a little collection of goodies for a giveaway! To enter, simply follow the link below to Rafflecopter and complete the steps to get up to 6 entry points! The prizes include: one of the coveted Chip purses from Primark, a pretty metallic highlighter brush, a bottle of The Ordinary Coverage Foundation in your choice of shade, the Barry M Strobe cream featured in this post, four of my Disney inspired iron-on patches plus a bonus prize that I’ll be bringing home from my upcoming trip to Walt Disney World! Giveaway closes on November 15th, UK entries only.

Enter here >>> a Rafflecopter giveaway

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10 Autumn/Winter Essentials Under £10

The weather has truly turned, so there’s now no denying that we are properly into the season of brown leaves and grey skies. Its time to hang up the summer dresses, put away the bikinis and accept that its starting to get dark before 6pm and you’ll need to bring your emergency umbrella everywhere with you.

Suddenly half of your wardrobe becomes obsolete, your skin starts going crazy and your starting to think about how much all the Christmas presents (yes I said it) you’ll need to buy in the coming months will cost you, so splashing out on all new stuff for yourself seems impossible, but I’ve got you covered with a few things that will help you survive the time without breaking the bank..

Colourblock jumper, £10, Primark

Pastel, woolly and cosy, check! Who said you have to stick to mustard and berry shades this autumn?

Full of Grace serum bar, £8.25, Lush

A lovely Lushie in my local store showed me this skincare wonder, which leaves skin feeling soft and smooth for days! Use as a standalone product, or apply it before using a face-mask to help the goodness soak in!

Proof It! Waterproof Eyeshadow Primer, £6, NYX

There’s nothing worse than spending a few minutes walking through drizzle to discover that its destroyed your whole face. I have genuinely tested this under running water and saw no budge so yeah this badboy works!

Chelsea boots, £8, Primark

New boots can cost the earth, but these are crazy comfy and available in a bunch of different colours too!

Charity Pot 45g, £3.75, Lush

Cold weather can be so drying for your skin, and not only does this little pot fit nicely into a handbag or desk drawer, it also does wonderful things for some amazing causes. Psst! If you collect 5 black pots you can exchange them for a free fresh face mask!

Pink Peg Trousers with Bow, £22 £9, ASOS

I am obsessed with these trousers. I bought them on a whim and didn’t think they’d be my style but for £9 thought ‘why not?’, but I actually want to wear them all the time!

Smart Nail Lacquer in Melon, £2.50, KIKO

Because melon sounds so much nicer than mustard, and this nail paint is cruelty free and a total bargain!

Campfire Singalong 8oz candle jar, £7.50, Maple and Whisky

Fill your home with the smell of bonfires and toasted marshmallows, but I warn you, this candle will make you hungry!

Meteor Storm eyeshadow palette, £9.99, Barry M

I’ve had my eye on this palette for a little while now and I think when payday comes round this will have to be mine. Its got copper, its got berry tones and its full of shimmer!

A travel mug

Did you know that a lot of coffee places do discounts if you bring in your own travel mug? There are tonnes of cute ones out there these days too!

What are your essentials for this time of year?

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The Ordinary Haul and Review

The Ordinary, a brand by Deciem, has been taking the beauty world by storm, and having seen some big bloggers talking about these products, I decided it was time to see what the hype was about.

Being the most talked about products, I picked up both the Coverage and Serum foundations, as well as the fluid primer. I would normally never order foundation online without having tested the shades for myself first, but thanks to the very clear shade guide on the website, I pinned it down to two potential shades – 1.1 and 1.2 – and decided to order each foundation in both shades, given that its only £5.90 a bottle. Yes, you heard me.

As well as having the shades based on a number scale, I also loved the fact that each shade was then split into three tones: neutral, yellow and pink. My skin tends to be on the pinkier side, so I got the Serum formula in pink and the Coverage in neutral, and both actually work very well for me.

Coverage Foundation

Right from the offset, Coverage became my favourite of the two foundations. The formula is much thicker, which I personally prefer, and as the name suggests, the coverage is higher than the Serum formula but despite both of these facts the product feels really light on the skin.

Serum Foundation

Like Coverage, Serum has a very lightweight formula and feels like you’re not wearing anything. As I tend to always stick to thicker formulas, I was a little out of my comfort zone with this one, and because of how quickly it blends into the skin, I was finding myself going over it a few times because I wasn’t always sure if I’d fully covered that area, plus the coverage is fairly light. I was also a little out of my comfort zone as Serum leaves more of a dewy finish, and I like to keep things matte.

Fluid Primer

As someone who isn’t really a fan of primers, this was a game changer. I’m not sure I can sing this product’s praises high enough. If I’m being honest, I added it to my basket so that I had something other than foundation, and so I could tip the basket total to get free delivery, but I am so thankful that I did. The formula is bizarre; its feels kinda gel-like at first but it spreads like a dream and dries within seconds, and once dry its practically weightless.

Part of the reason I’m not much of a primer person, and I’m nervous trying new foundation is that I rarely find anything that can contend with my skin, which can switch from dry as a desert to oily as a 2am kebab within a matter of seconds, and I normally end up regretting wearing foundation by lunchtime, but I did not have a single complaint with this. I tested both foundations both with and without, and both applied so much nicer and lasted the day without any issues when I used the primer.

But seriously guys, I bought 4 foundations and a primer for less than £30, which is what I would normally spend on my regular NARS foundation, plus they’re cruelty free!

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How My Blog Planning Has Changed Through The Years

It’s always October that I find myself thinking a lot about my blog and how much it’s changed. In just over two weeks this little space of mine will be 4 years old, and I will never stop being grateful for all that blogging has given me.I look back to the early years with a lot of fond memories. I wouldn’t like to call myself naive but I think that’s exactly what I was, but innocently so. Back then I wrote how I thought I should be writing, and when I look back I cringe over how the words don’t even sound like they’ve come from me, but back then, same as I do now, I wrote because I loved doing it.

Back in the day I had no idea how to schedule a blog post, and in fact there were a few days within my first years of blogging that I published about 6 posts in a day because I had no concept of the importance of staggering my content. In those days I didn’t even know how to check my blog stats, let alone worry over them, and I didn’t think I needed a Twitter account – cute right?

For the first year or so of my blog, I just wrote whenever I had the chance. There was no real pattern of much of a schedule, and pretty much everything was posted on the same day it was written without much of a thought. It was simple and I was happy doing that.

When 2015 came around, I wanted routine. I was still LottieDoesDisney back then and I still thought all I could write about was Disney, but came up with an ingenious blog plan and routine for the coming year. For each week I would honour a particular Disney movie, and represent said movie in various inspired posts through the week – I think Monday was an intro, Tuesday was fashion, Wednesday was DIY Thursday was food etc. I don’t even think that lasted two months.

The problem with this is I felt too restricted, and by this stage I was wanting to branch out and write about more topics, and this sort of schedule wasn’t allowing me the ability to do that. I quickly ditched that, although I never stopped writing about Disney, and change was creeping in, but it wasn’t long before I was introducing new schedules that were just as tight as the old ones.

2016 came and again I planned the year out carefully with a bunch of series that I was sure I’d see through, some weekly, some bi-weekly and others monthly. At the time I loved thinking that I was so damn organised, but if for any reason the posts couldn’t be written, I felt like I’d failed the system. Knowing I had to have a certain post written by a certain day of the week made everything feel forced, and I fell out of love with the writing, so I decided to let go.

I still plan, and I always aim to keep at least a week ahead of the game, but I’m far more relaxed with my blog schedule. I am, in fact, writing as many posts, if not more than I ever have done, but I don’t pressure myself and the words just flow much better that way. I try to have 3-4 posts for each week planned at the start of each month, and that allows me to fill the spaces with the spontaneous and off the cuff posts, which often tend to be the most popular.

I’ve always said it and I always will: I just enjoy writing and being a blogger, and what’s funnier still is I always say I’m grateful for what my blog has given me, but I guess really it’s what I’ve given myself.

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Things My Personal Trainer Has Never Said

As part of my regular fitness routine, I do two 30 minute sessions with a personal trainer every week. I train with Steph not because I have to but because I enjoy it; she is as much a friend to me as she is a trainer, and she has pushed me further than I could have ever imagined.

PTs may be considered by most as paid torturers, but not only do they train hard in the gym, in order to gain their qualifications they also have to train hard and gain an incredible understanding of the human body, nutrition and training techniques, so they do really know what they’re talking about.

I’ve been training with Steph for 2 years now, and with all the wisdom she has shared with me in this time, there are some things she’s never ever said to me..

‘You can’t eat *insert here*’

Sure, a lot of personal trainers double up as nutritionalists, and many do help their clients put together meal plans and diets, but what I love about Steph is that she has never told me that there’s anything I shouldn’t be eating. Like me, she believes that treats are ok and holidays are for pigging out, and it’s so nice not having a voice in my head saying ‘you shouldn’t be eating this, what would your trainer think?’. In fact, she frequently tells me about the things that she’s eating! At the end of the day, food is fuel and if you’re still training and keeping balance, that’s all that matters.

‘You have to eat *insert here*’

As well as never restricting me, she doesn’t dictate. I get to choose what I eat, and while she’s always more than happy to offer advise when I ask for it, she lets me take the reins and learn things for myself.

‘You shouldn’t lift heavier than..’

Before I trained with Steph, I wouldn’t pick up a dumbbell heavier than about 5-6kg, and now I won’t touch anything lighter. There’s nothing she hates more than the belief that women shouldn’t lift heavy weights, and the only time she would ever stop me from going heavier is if she felt I wasn’t ready or I could risk an injury.

‘Weight gain is bad’

About every 4 weeks we do measurements. This isn’t to make me feel good/bad about myself, it’s just to track my body, and while I do get on the scales, the number doesn’t matter to her. Primarily we look at change in my actual measurements, and if the scales do go up, I’m never made to feel bad about it.

‘You shouldn’t miss a training day’

There are mornings when I wake up and I don’t feel up for training, whether it’s cos I’ve had a bad nights sleep, I’m not feeling 100% or I’m suffering from an injury. I am never told that this isn’t ok. A big part of training is understanding my body’s needs, and if it needs time off then that’s fine, and in the same way I understand that sometimes she needs days off. Missing a day or a week isn’t the be all and end all.

‘You have to get smaller’

She understands that everyone has different goals, and that not everyone goes to the gym to drastically change their body. Sure, I ultimately would like to see myself get a bit leaner, but it’s more about getting fitter and healthier, and if I don’t see any change in my body when I’m doing that then who cares?

If a professional PT has never said these things, why should anyone else?

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Blogging for a Better World

It constantly amazes me how much of an influence bloggers and vloggers actually have these days. I was browsing the beauty aisle in Superdrug the other day near a group of loud teenagers, when I heard one of them say ‘no don’t buy that, *insert name I can’t remember* the YouTuber doesn’t like it so it must be rubbish’, and I just thought it was amazing. Sure, the influence you have can vary, but it got me thinking that as a group, we could make incredible change.

Now I don’t believe for a second in telling other bloggers how to blog, or what you should blog about, but there are a bunch of ways that without compromising your blogging style, you can help make the world a better place.

Be more domestic

I’m not talking about doing the ironing or washing up, this is about cutting the carbon footprint of your shopping spree by choosing to shop from companies and brands that operate in this country. Not only will you save on hefty customs charges, but your items haven’t got to you courtesy of a plane journey!

Order with friends

If you are ordering from abroad, why not do a joint order with other people? I try to do this with a lot of US companies to save on the shipping and customs costs, but it does also save on packaging and transportation.

Promote the use of local produce

If you’re sharing a recipe, why not buy from a local producer and talk about your experience in the post? You can get great deals from your local greengrocers and butchers, they can tell you more about the produce and you’ll be supporting the local community too.

Try natural and cruelty free

You don’t have to switch out your entire makeup collection, but next time you shop try switching to a cruelty free alternative. And hey, if you don’t like what you try, you can write about that too!

Chat about the planet

Write a post on how you recycle at home, or share your favourite outdoor activities. Opt for a staycation bucket list for your next travel post, review a product from a sustainable brand, or just get chatty and talk about saving the planet!

Play a part

There are so many incredible charities that are trying to make a difference in this world, from fighting for human rights to animal conservation and saving the planet. You can blog about your experience at a fundraising event, take part in a fun run or even just promote the charity through your blog and social media – even a single tweet can make a difference!

We don’t have to make big changes, but the changes we make can make a huge difference. It doesn’t hurt to try, right?

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My Birthday Haul

Well that’s another birthday done with for the year! The day itself was fairly chilled – I had the day off work and just spent it hanging out at home, baking cakes and then had the family over for a Chinese takeaway for dinner. Nothing special, but just the way I like it.

But you didn’t come here to hear about my day, you wanted to see what I got, right?

The first presents I got to unwrap in the morning were from Matthew. He was pretty smug about what he’d got me, and even wanted me to open them early because he wanted to see my reaction, but I patiently waited until my actual birthday.

I was not disappointed. I opened what felt like the heaviest box of goodies all the way from Sephora – seven sheet masks, a cream highlighter palette and this whopper of an eyeshadow palette from the Sephora Pro collection. I’ve already searched every shade and fallen in love with it and I can’t wait to play with it some more!

Also tucked in my box of goodies, although not from Sephora, was a bottle of Pixi Glow Tonic, which is a product I’ve been dying to get my hands on for a long time now, so I’m excited to see if that lives up to all the hype.


How amazing are my parents?! I had absolutely no idea that I would be unwrapping this beautiful little bag from the Disney x Coach collection, but I’m so in love with it and I’m so grateful that they managed to find one as I thought the collection was no longer available. I did also get a cutting mat and rotary cutting tool from them but it doesn’t look as cute in photos!

The rest of my family just stuck to the usual tradition of money, and I’m planning on putting some of that towards a Lush shop, and the rest towards my upcoming Florida trip at the end of the month.

A huge thank you to everyone who wished me a happy birthday on here and on social media, it means so much to me!

When I Grow Up..

Next week I’ll be turning 23. I’ll be another year older, and maybe wiser, but I’m still just as unsure about the rest of my life as I’ll ever be.

Remember when you were little, and you were so sure what you’d be when you grew up? Sure, you’d probably change your mind every couple of years, but at the time it seemed like anything was possible, and you’d probably be excelling in your field by the time you were 25. Childhood innocence meant you weren’t thinking about what degree you’d need to get, or how you’d pay off astronomical student loans, and your main concern when it came to housing was whether your house would have a bouncy castle room or a room made of chocolate. You were free to dream.

Over the years, I’ve wanted to do and be a number of things, and as another birthday approaches, I’ve been reminiscing a little..

‘I want to be a vet’

This was the first job I remember wanting. I was animal obsessed as a kid (some things never change) and to me being a vet meant playing with animals every day. Apparently I specifically wanted to be a vet for cute animals such as cats, dogs and hamsters, and refused to work with snakes or anything else that I deemed yucky or not cute.

I can’t remember at what stage I stopped wanting to be a vet, but I think it came along with the realisation that its not all playing with cute fluffy animals, and that I’d probably be traumatised the first time I was faced with having to put someone else’s pet down.

‘I want to be a fashion designer’

I think I was around about 9-10 when I started drawing clothes. I’d always loved being crafty and attempting to ‘customise’ stuff, and I got a sketchbook and started to create my first ‘portfolio’. This wasn’t a career I was overly vocal about, and I think the only person that I actually told this to was my sister, who I seem to recall told me it was stupid.

While the ambition faded fairly quickly, my love for designing and creating apparel never did, and today I’m selling my creations on Etsy, not to mention frequently wearing them myself.

‘I want to be in a girl band’

Toward the end of my primary school days, me and my two best friends at the time formed a band. I created the music on some PC software I had on my computer, and we’d sing along over and over and dream about performing in front of audiences.

The band probably lasted all of a few sleepovers, but I continued to write songs and perform until I was about 15-16, but I knew nothing would ever come of it. My confidence was knocked by some goings on in my personal life, and now I save my singing for solo car journeys and being home alone.

‘I want to be a photographer’

I’m fairly certain this one fizzled out as quickly as it came on, but I have always loved taking photos. I remember creating a website and some crappy little business cards, but at the time the only photos I ever took were probably on my dad’s little digital camera.

Photography is still a huge part of my life. Its a huge part of my blog and its something that I genuinely love doing, so while I won’t be making any big bucks out of it, me and my camera are always going to be firm friends.

‘I want to be a forensic scientist’

This was probably my most serious career aspiration. Inspired by my love of detective type TV shoes and my love of chemistry at school, I had really thought that this was going to be my career.

It stuck with me through my GCSEs, but during my first year of A-Levels I was starting to discover that university wasn’t the only path I could take after sixth form, and I was itching to be out of education and in the real world, and forensics just became another pipe dream that I was now over.

As for where I really am today, I’m just coming up to a year of being in my first proper salaried job, albeit still in customer service. I don’t love my job, but there’s a lot of change coming up in my life and I know that my time will come.

One day.

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Welcome to Our Loft

Last month I made the big announcement that Matthew and I were finally moving in together, and that we’d be turning the loft into my family home into our own little space. Well I have no idea where the last month has gone, but I’m so happy with our loft and just couldn’t wait to share it with everyone!

The loft was converted into a room for me and my sister to use when we were teenagers, but over the last few years became somewhat overlooked and needed a good old clear out and a little bit of TLC. Matthew and I spent a good few days sorting out all the accumulated rubbish, donating furniture to charity shops and taking anything that couldn’t be salvaged to the tip, and then started the mammoth job of repainting, which we still haven’t actually finished completely, but our main priority was making the room ready for us to move in, and we can patch up the paint over the coming weeks.

When you come up the stairs, first thing on the right is the window bay, which Matthew has turned into his desk area, but I also have my sewing machine set up as well as a few bits and pieces for my businesses, but I’m not much of a desk person so its really his space.

We used the sofa as a sort-of room divider, which created a bit of storage space. I’m still keeping my clothes and bits in my bedroom, so again this space is really for Matthew’s clothes – hence the little clothes rail! – but its also created a nice little display space for some of our photos and my Lego Disney castle.

While the sideboard, cupboards and TV stand were new from IKEA, we managed to save on buying a new bed and sofa as Matthew already had those so he just brought them down from Manchester, along with his TV and bedside tables.

Our bed area is probably my favourite part of the whole room. At the end of the bed we have a huge beanbag, adding to the seating around the TV, and I love that it also matched the colour scheme of our bedding – in fact the whole room is generally themed yellow, blue and grey, or Donald Duck style, as I like to call it. Our amazing bedside lamps are also IKEA, and they create so much light alone that we rarely have the main lights on in the evening.

Moving into the loft also gave us the opportunity to set up the Nanoleaf Aurora that I got Matthew for our anniversary earlier this year, and I just love it!

I’m so happy with our little space, and I’m so happy that we’re finally passed the long distance part of our relationship, and the future is looking exciting!

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How I Highlight

I know I say this every time I write a beauty post, but I really do not consider myself to be anywhere near expert level when it comes to makeup. I’ve never claimed to be a beauty blogger, I’m merely a girl with a stash of makeup and a love of putting it on my face.

I can’t contour or create the perfect winged eyeliner, but one thing I do pride myself in is my ability to highlight. Highlighter is probably my biggest weakness when it comes to beauty product, and I’m not ashamed to say if I could only wear one product for the rest of my life it would be highlighter.

A few people have asked me recently how I achieve my glow, so I thought I’d write a post on my routine and what products go into my shininess! For me, its all about layers and building..

  • Once I’ve done my foundation, the next product I reach for is Benefit’s Dandelion Shy Beam, which is a soft pinky liquid highlighter. Using the built in brush, I make a stripe of product across my cheekbones, and then blend using my Spectrum B01 brush. This creates the perfect base for building upon, while remaining quite subtle!
  • Next, I use Makeup Revolution Baked Highligher in Matte Lights, but rather than using a normal sized brush, I use the biggest brush in my collection, which is the Lottie London kabuki brush, and go to town up my cheekbones with it. Being a matte highlighter, this is also fairly subtle but generally brightens the whole area without bringing all the sparkle of a normal highlighter.
  • For good fortune, I top this with a light layer of Benefit’s newest highlighter, Dandelion Sparkle, and I just use the brush that comes with it. This again is a very soft pink highlighter but starts to bring the shine!
  • To top things off, I tend to reach for my ABH x Nicole Guerriero glow kit, along with my Spectrum A10 fan brush. My go-to shades are Daydream or Kitty Kat, but if I want to be seen from space then its Forever Lit.

I just love being shiny!

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Affordable Acrylic Storage with Songmics* – GIVEAWAY!

I recently announced that Matthew has just moved in with me at my parent’s house, and that over the next few months we’ll be starting to look at buying a house and moving out, and with all this in mind, I’m not only having to think about keeping my stuff neat and tidy to make space for him, but also about how I’ll want our house to look, whenever it is that we get one.

I’m not gonna lie to you, I have a lot of makeup. Sure, its probably less than some, but its in no way a small collection, and up until recently, it lives for the majority of the time on my bedroom floor in front of my wardrobe mirror, and anything that’s not been on the floor has been in a box file on a shelf. Not stylish, and not practical at all, so when I was recently contacted by the lovely guys from Songmics and asked if I’d like to receive some acrylic makeup storage, I couldn’t say no! Songmics are a German brand that specialise in practical and stylish home storage and organisation, and their products are available in the UK and worldwide via Amazon.

I’ve eyed up various acrylic storage solutions before, such as Muji and even Ikea, but have always been put off by the price tag, but the two tier organiser that Songmics sent me is only £15.99, and if you’re an Amazon Prime member, hello free next day delivery! But let’s talk about the product..

My first impressions were that it was a lot sturdier than I had thought, which was great as I was worried that it might be thin and cheap feeling – definitely not the case! My second worry was that I didn’t think that one organiser was going to fit much of my makeup in, and while it doesn’t fit everything, I did manage to fit a LOT more than I thought I would – in fact, I managed to fit all of my day to day essentials and then some!

This organiser is actually comprised of two sections, with the top lifting off of the drawers, and the components are all designed to be stackable, so I can buy an extra set of drawers which I can fit into the mix, should I want to expand!

I’ve used the top section for all of my most used products – foundation, mascara, brow palette, favourite lipsticks etc – then organised the drawers into eyes and face, with the two smaller top drawers being my eyeliners and eyeshadows, then the larger bottom drawers are blushers/bronzers in one, and highlighers in the other.

If I’m being a little picky, I wish there was more room for palettes, as I’ve only been able to fit two in the slots at the back, but I’m definitely a convert to the acrylic storage club, and I’m already thinking about what else I can get to add to my setup to get the rest of my stuff in!

Want to win your own? The guys over at Songmics have got another two tier organiser with one of your names on it, just enter below and the winner will be announced on October 4th! (Widget isn’t supported on all browsers, so if you have any issues just click the link below!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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*I was sent this product to review, but all views are my own

KIKO Perfect Gel Duo Review

I’m gonna say something that will probably shock a good percentage of girls and beauty bloggers right now: I have never had my nails done professionally. This is partly down to being awkward and the fact that I find making conversation with a hairdresser difficult enough when I’m not face to face with them, but also partly due to the fact that I have good natural nails and am skilled with a nail varnish, so the idea of having to pay for someone else to do what I can do a pretty good job of myself isn’t one I’m too keen on.

So instead I spend my money on nail varnish in every shade under the sun.

The problem I do find though is that I’m clumsy, and have a tendency to smudge or chip at least one nail within the first two days of a fresh paint, so when I recently discovered my love of KIKO nail products, and then they ran a buy 3, get 3 free offer, I decided to try my luck with an ‘at home’ gel manicure.

First impressions

I chose the shade Milk Mint, and its exactly what I expected it to be based on the online image. I’d describe it as one shade lighter than a Tiffany’s box, and I love it. The packaging is cute, but I worried that the lid was going to be a little bulky to hold while painting, but lo and behold, the silver cap actually pops off to reveal a less pretty but more practical sized lid – yay!

Application

This is genuinely no different to any other nail paint. Slap on two coats of colour, give it 2 mins then one layer of top coat and you’re good to go after a few minutes of air-drying. Simples.

Wear and tear

Like I mentioned earlier, the first few days are always the riskiest ones for me, but I didn’t have a problem at all; not a smudge, not a chip. I then road-tested it to the max as I then spent my weekend doing DIY.. I’m gonna be honest, they’re not intact, but they held up very well considering I was moving bulky furniture, painting, filling, sanding and all sorts. The clear difference I would note is that with the gel topcoat, rather than chipping like most nail polish, it tends to peel off in larger portions – an incident with some masking tape took of half a nail in one go, oops!

Had it not been for the DIY, however, I am really impressed with the results! Some nails did remain intact, and in comparison to my regular KIKO smart nail lacquers, they definitely lasted longer and kept cleaner and neater.

What I loved most was the fact I didn’t have to do anything special – no UV lights, no special remover, just straight foward nail care that just lasts longer! Oh, and they’re on sale at £5 at the moment, who wouldn’t love that?

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8 People You Need to Befriend in your Office

Its now almost been a year since I traded in my soul-crushing retail job for my first taste of office life. Time flies, huh?

I’ve learned a lot about office life this year, but I think everyone knows that a key part in any job is finding how to survive the daily grind with as little stress and with the minimal effort required, and I’ve discovered that there are certain people in every office that are worth keeping on the good side of to help with this.

The smoker

You don’t have to smoke to appreciate the perks of being friends with a smoker. These are the people who normally have a good supply of chewing gum, mints and perfume, should you be in need, and are also equipped with a lighter for that inevitable moment when no-one’s thought about how they were going to light the candles on yet another office birthday cake.

The grazer

You know how there’s always that person that seems to be munching on something whatever time you look at them? Yep, that’s the grazer, and they’re gonna be your saviour on the days you’ve skipped breakfast. (I am definitely a grazer – I have a whole drawer in my desk dedicated to snacks and you can hit me up any time for some Belvita, rice cakes, nuts or hot chocolate powder!)

The scary senior

In my experience, in any workplace there’s one supervisor/manager who most people will tread very lightly around for fear of any upset. Now I’m not saying to be a total suck-up, but earning brownie points and being on the good side of this person can put you in a very good position should you ever need their help or a favour!

The tea addict

Know of someone who can’t go more than about half an hour with an empty mug? They’re back and forth from the kitchen doing tea/coffee runs all day, and generally they’re more than happy to fill up an extra cup if they’re going that way..

The part-timer

There’s nothing worse than trying to find someone to cover a shift that you can’t book off, especially because chances are everyone else in the office is probably already working the same day. Enter the part-timer – their reduced, and therefore more flexible hours means they tend to be happy with swapping as chances are it’ll benefit them too.

The know-it-all

For the times you’re stuck in a certain situation and aren’t entirely sure how to proceed, its handy to be fairly tight with that one person who seems to know every procedure and practice inside out and back to front to help you with the next step.

The great debater

Is there someone in your office who loves the opportunity to jump in on a debate, or just has to get there side across in an argument? Well it might be annoying as hell sometimes, but in other situations they can be particularly handy. There’s a guy on my team who’s like this, and if I ever have to call back an unhappy customer and don’t particularly fancy it, he’s normally more than happy to take it over.

The optimist

There is nothing worse on a bad day at work than being surrounded by people who are just constantly negative. Whether you’re in a bad mood yourself or not, its draining and it sucks for general morale. Find the sunny people and stick with them!

What gets you through the day?

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Why I Take Time Off From My Fitbit

In one form or another, I’ve been using Fitbits on and off for the last 4 years. I started off in 2013 with a Zip, which then had to be replaced with another Zip following an incident with the washing machine, and then when the second Zip met the same untimely demise, I went a little while without, until last year I upgraded to a higher spec device: the Charge 2.

I’ve always loved using Fitbits. I love being able to track my activity but I also find them so motivating as I’m forever wanting to hit my daily goals and targets, plus being able to log all my workouts as well as track my runs via GPS mean that I have everything I need to know in one place. I check my stats religiously, which is why sometimes I need to take time off.

Sure, its amazing when you sync your device at the end of the day and you’ve got that little green circle around all of your targets, but what about when you don’t? Sometimes its not always possible to hit every goal, you’re only human after all, but I often struggle with the disappointment if I’ve had a particularly bad day or week, and sometimes I can be a little obsessive – I’ve been known to spend 10-20 minutes walking round my bedroom in the evening because I’m only 500 steps away from my daily target and I don’t want to go to bed until I’ve hit it, and that’s not always healthy.

Over the last few weeks I’ve been struggling with a back injury; I had to take some time off work and could hardly move, let alone get to the gym, and that on its own really gets me down, so the last thing I need is something on my wrist to remind me that I’ve only done 150 steps all day and am at the bottom of the leaderboard of all my friends. Whenever I get an injury, one of the first things I do is take off my Fitbit, because I want to concentrate on getting better and healing, and not pushing myself too hard just because I feel obliged to.

I know I’ll always go back. Keeping fit and active makes me so happy, and my Fitbit is a daily reminder of that, but keeping a healthy mind is just as important as a healthy body, and I always want to make sure that comes first.

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Five Hyped Products I Never Use

The thing with bandwagons is that I’m all too eager to jump on them if something cute is involved, and the problem with that is that my bank balance doesn’t always like this.

There are always new products hitting the marketplace that we all think are the best thing since sliced bread, and we all rush to get our hands on them thinking that they’re gonna be total game-changers, and I’m definitely not immune to this, and here are a few that spring to mind..

Fuji Instax

I bought the Hello Kitty Instax camera from a friend a few years ago, but I’ve only ever had to change the film once – that’s how rarely I use it. Its not that I don’t like it, its just that I never think to take it out with me, and the refill film is kinda pricey so I don’t want to waste shots. I do wonder if I’d’ve used it more had it been a regular Instax Mini, rather than the Hello Kitty version, but even still I’m not sure..

Eyelash curler

I know people who practically live by the mantra of ‘mascara, curl, repeat’, but having owned an eyelash curler for a few years now, I think I’ve only ever used it once.

Primer

Beauty lovers everywhere are probably gonna go nuts over this one, but I never use primer before doing my makeup. I do own Benefit’s Porefessional primer, but I tend to use that as a standalone product on days that I can’t be bothered to wear foundation and just want to blur out my pores a bit, but as a base product, nope!

Happiness Planner

Don’t get me wrong, I do love my Happiness Planner – I love the way it looks and I do love filling it in, I just find that I never remember to do it! Its just not part of my regular routine, and as much as I’d love it to be, I just never think about it.

Rainbow highlighter

As a self-confessed highlighter addict, you’d think that I’d jump at the opportunity to use a pretty highlighter, but I just never do.. I have the Unicorn Heart highlighter from I Heart Makeup, but I guess its just not really my thing, or at least it doesn’t look how I thought it might and I was a little disappointed.

What products have you fallen for only to never use?

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Moving In

Despite talking yesterday about Matthew and my plans to move out, today’s post is pretty much the opposite – let me give you some backstory.

Following on from all the long distance, back in July Matthew finally completed his pilot training, and just over a week ago was offered a position to start with easyJet. Its safe to say we’re both thrilled; I’m so proud of all the hard work he put into his training and its such a relief that its all paid off and he’s got a job lined up. The catch? He probably won’t be starting the job until February/March, and until he starts, we don’t know where he’ll be based, aka where we’ll be moving to.

The thing is, after over a year of him being here, there and everywhere, and me being stuck firmly in Bournemouth, we’re kinda done with the whole being apart thing, so we’re moving in together. Well, he’s moving to Bournemouth, and I’m upgrading from my bedroom to the loft in my parent’s house, turning it into our own sorta studio apartment.

Its going to be a bit of a working progress – while our loft has already been converted into a habitable room, its since become a bit of a dumping ground, and there’s some work for us to do before we can officially move into it. We’ve spent the weekend clearing out some of the accumulated junk – deciding what’s being donated to charity or sold and then we still have some old furniture that’s destined for the tip – then we’ve started the process of cleaning and repainting to freshen the place back up so we can start to move our furniture in and make it our own.

So in the time between now and whenever Matthew starts with easyJet, we’ll both be Bournemouth based. He’s got a job at the same place that I work so that in the meantime we can both get saving for when we do eventually fly the nest, and of course we’ll get our first taste of what living together permanently will actually be like – the DIY is already proving a good test of our relationship strength, haha!

Wish us luck!

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Things That Happen When You Start to Think About Moving Out

So I’ve hinted a lot recently about big changes coming up in my life, and undeniably the biggest of these changes is that very soon I will be flying the nest, and Matthew and I will be moving in together.

While this might not seem like a big deal to some, it will be the first time I’ve ever left home; I didn’t go to university, and places in my town are so expensive even to rent that I was much happier living at home and saving up for when this time came. With that in mind, now we are in the process of not only trying to find our own place, but also brace for all the adult stuff that comes along with it – mortgages, show home visits and what not – a few more things start to happen..

You sign up for an Ikea Family card, and any other loyalty schemes you can find

The B&Q Club, Tesco Clubcards, you name it – anything that could either get you some money off or earn a few reward points suddenly seems like the best idea in the world.

Pinterest boards appear

Rather than spending evenings scrolling for holiday destinations or beauty tips, suddenly its all about decor, furniture and kitchens, plus any home DIY pins you think you’ll actually be able to accomplish successfully.

You start to evaluate your DIY skills

Suddenly thoughts like ‘how do you even put up a shelf?’ and ‘can I be trusted with power tools?’ pop into your head at random times and you fear that everything might just have to be held together by duck tape..

Important discussions occur

If you’ve never permanently lived with your soon-to-be new housemate, you’ll end up having long conversations about whether you’ll be a ‘shoes off at the door’ kinda house, or if you keep ketchup in the fridge or in the cupboard.

You start to panic over hosting people

Having your own place means that inevitably people will visit from time to time, and in these times its always vital that tea and coffee is stocked and there’s milk in the fridge, and does this mean you should always have biscuits in too? Is it rude to not have biscuits?!

Cashback websites become everything

Now that you actually have to worry about your own bills, when weighing up which companies to go to for things like power, broadband and insurance, its all about who works out as the best deal when it comes to that all important cashback.

You realise how many things at home you take for granted

Sure, you’ve thought about what furniture you’re gonna need, and you’ve basically decided on your dream home’s decor in your head already, but did you think about the fact you’ll have to remember to buy an ironing board, a dustpan and brush, batteries and ziploc bags?

If you’ve recently moved out and have any tips, please drop me a comment!

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August Samples and Testers

Who doesn’t love trying new things? Sure, I hate social occasions with people I don’t know or doing things that are so far out my comfort zone that I can’t see it anymore, but new beauty and skincare products are definitely my jam.

And because its expensive to buy new products, I try to get my fix by collecting as many sample and tester products as I can so that I can give them a bash before I fork out my cash on them. I’ve talked before about ways you can get samples to try products on the cheap, and because I use these methods religiously, I’ve collected a fair stash of products which I’ve yet to try, hence a new series! I’m gonna be diving into my stores each month (and probably adding to them at the same time) and reporting back on what’s been fab and what’s been not so fab..

So here are my August picks!

IsaDora Nude Fluid Foundation

I will never buy a full-sized foundation without trying it out properly first, mainly because I can never get the shade quite right but also because I really struggle to find formulas that I actually like. This was very middle ground for me – while I didn’t hate it, which happens a lot when I try new foundation, it also didn’t blow me away, although I actually got the shade pretty close! It applies quite well (I used a flat foundation brush to apply and then a softer brush to blend), but while it claims medium coverage I found it was fairly light. I like the lightweight feel, and I will continue to use my little sample bottle, but I don’t know if I’ll be splashing out for the real thing.

Kiehl’s Creme de Corps

Despite all the hype from so many bloggers, I’ve never actually used Kiehl’s products before, but samples are often available on Feel Unique Pick’n’Mix so I’ve got a few in my stash. I actually had two Creme de Corps samples in my collection, so I figured it was time to crack one open! First impressions, it really does meet the description of a ‘whipped’ body butter – the consistency was practically that of buttercream, and it smelt amazing too. It was nice, but for the price tag that the full sized product comes at, I think I’ll be sticking to my regular moisturiser.

Benefit Gimme Brow

Every time I see a Benefit product on Feel Unique Pick’n’Mix I snap them up because you get a proper little mini product rather than just a sample and its such good value for money! Most of my brow products are Benefit, so I was excited to try something new, but while it is a good product, its not revolutionised my approach to how I do my eyebrows, so I don’t think I’ll be buying the full-sized version. Every now and then I’ll reach for it, but other products have my vote more.

Benefit Goof Proof Brow Pencil

While Gimme Brow was a no from me, I did like Goof Proof. I’m a bit annoyed that I didn’t check the shade and accidentally got one that was a tiny bit too dark, but I did give it a go before donating it to my sister, and I was pretty happy with the results. I’ve had pencils like this before where you have to apply so much pressure for the product to actually show, but that definitely wasn’t the case with this, and had I not got the wrong shade, this would definitely be one I’d use a fair bit so I’ll be keeping an eye out for any offers!

L’Oreal Pure Clay Masks

I’ve seen a lot of hype for these masks over the last few months, so when I saw this little sample pack in Superdrug and it was down from £7.49 to £3.50 instore the other week, I decided it was the perfect opportunity to try the three masks for a bargain price. First up, I was impressed about how a little product goes a long way – I’ve used the products 3-4 times now, and I still have some left! Secondly, I’m super impressed with how my skin has been looking since I started using these! The red ‘glow’ mask has been my favourite and has really helped clear up the awkward dry patch of skin that I get on my forehead, and I’ve tried a lot of things for that before now! I’m not normally one for face masks but I think this will be a repeat purchase.

Have you tried anything new this month?

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Things About Me That Bother Other People

Let’s face it, no one’s perfect, right? Fact is, you’re never gonna please everyone. You can be the nicest person, the best at your job, be a style icon and make the best cakes in the world, but there’s always going to be one person who doesn’t agree with something that you do.

Its ok to have different opinions – they’re opinions for a reason – and chances are you’re not gonna lose friends over liking or disliking something small, but you might be met with a few ‘what?!’s and ‘I can’t believe it’s. I’m no stranger to these reactions to certain things, and these are the ones I get the most ‘backlash’ from:

I don’t drink tea or coffee

Simply because I don’t actually like them. Coffee is something that most people don’t really seem to care about, but being British and not liking tea seems to be some kind of treason for some..

I haven’t seen that movie

There are a whole lot of movies I’ve never seen. I mean, no one’s seen every movie to have ever existed, but often when it comes to films that most consider to be ‘classics’, I haven’t the foggiest. To name a few, there’s Pulp Fiction, Slumdog Millionaire, any of the Bourne or Rocky movies and most films based on Nicholas Sparks novels..

I can’t do anything above lemon and herb at Nandos

I have such a low tolerance for spicy food and for some reason this really ticks people off. I’m a straight up lemon and herb or mango and lime, and when it comes to curry I won’t stray from a tikka masala or a korma, and even then I’ll probably drink a bucket of water.

I’m not really a drinker

I’m not tee-total, but I hardly drink anymore. When I do, I’m a total lightweight and I’m not even kidding when I say I feel the effects of one Koppaberg quite quickly, and to be honest that’s part of the reason that I do say no to that first drink. I’m totally ok with not drinking, but when I’m out with others there always seems to be at least one person that isn’t happy about it.

I can’t stand reality TV

With the exception of this year’s Love Island, I can’t cope with reality shows. Big Brother, I’m a Celebrity, even X-Factor, they all just drive me insane and the rest of the world’s evenings seem to revolve around them.

I’m not big on Halloween

While I like to carve a pumpkin, that’s pretty much the only thing about Halloween that I enjoy. I’m not a huge fan of Halloween films, I don’t much like spooky stuff and I definitely am not the sort of person who wishes away summer waiting for it.

I like the TV volume on 17

I do not feel the pressure of the whole ‘tv volume ending with a 0 or 5’ thing. On our tv at home, 17 is the perfect volume for daytime telly watching, or if its something that needs a little bit more then its 23-24. Soz.

Do any of these bother you at all?

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Kiko Cosmetics Sale Haul

So last week I had a day alone in Manchester, so naturally I gravitated towards the Trafford Centre, and after a morning of working away in Starbucks, I treated myself to an afternoon of shopping. I hit pretty much every store that had a sale sign in the window, and one store that caught my eye particularly was Kiko Milano.

Despite being well aware that I own enough makeup as it is, I always love trying new brands, and when that brand is not only having a massive summer sale but is also cruelty free, there was no stopping me, but I did only spend £25!

The first thing that caught my eye stepping into the store was the display of gloriously bright nail varnishes. I’ve always loved having colourful nails, and while I have always sworn by Barry M when it comes to nail products, over recent years they’ve opted to diversify and their original collection of nail paints just aren’t available in as many colours as they used to be. As soon as I saw the wall of Kiko Smart Nail Lacquers I fell in love, but not wanting to go too overboard I just chose two, which are actually two shades very similar to my favourite Barry’s that aren’t available anymore, and they’re only £2 each, so win win!

Nearer to the checkout, they also had a few ‘mini’ nail varnishes at just £1 each so I decided to nab two of those as well!

Next up, I couldn’t help but fall in love with this STUNNING matte finishing powder – its so creamy and blendable, plus its fine and super light! I also grabbed this pretty blush for just £3.80, which is also super light feeling and the shade, Breathtaking Azalea, is perfect for spring/summer looks.

Lastly, while I’m not normally one for individual eyeshadows, I decided to pick up this little duo-shadow because the colour combination was super pretty and very me. Its not the most pigmented, but the two shades compliment each other wonderfully and its perfect for a subtle look, which is more my style anyway!

Have you tried any Kiko products before? I’d love to hear any recommendations!

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Improving My Sleep Habits

Sleep and I are fickle friends; its a love/hate relationship really. The fact is, I really cannot function without it, and while everyone says this, I am the kind of person that can rarely make it to midnight, and more often than not is in bed by 10pm, if not earlier. I am also a napper, and if I am tired and need sleep, it doesn’t matter where I am or what I’m doing, if my body decides its time to sleep, I probably will – I think my finest moment was falling asleep while standing on a train in Japan. Oh yes.

The hate part of my relationship is that sometimes sleep doesn’t like me. I can be a fairly vivid dreamer, and while some nights I’ll sleep like an absolute baby, other nights I’ll be awake on the hour every hour. I’m not an insomniac, I’m just fairly restless, and some nights actually feel more draining than they do refreshing and restful.

So I’m in the market for anything I can do to improve my shut-eye, and I’ve already identified a few changes that need to be made in the hopes that I can see some real progression, and from here on out, I’ll be doing my best to stick to these new habits.

Clearing the clutter

I have this awful habit of leaving things in my bed when I’m about to go to sleep. Chances are my laptop will be on there somewhere, and probably a notepad or two, plus my iPad and maybe even some clothes that I haven’t got round to putting away yet – no more! From here on out my bed will be a place for me to sleep and just me.

Not getting into bed until I’m ready

I also have this horrible habit of getting into bed as soon as I get in from work, fully dressed with a full face of makeup, grabbing my laptop and getting a bit of writing done before I go to sleep, or putting on Netflix for a bit. The problem with this is that I then rarely want to get back out, so sometimes I’ll end up going to sleep without taking of my makeup and sometimes even sleeping in whatever shirt I was wearing that day so I don’t have to get up and change. Yikes, right?

Now, while I still have no issue with getting straight into bed when I finish my day at work (so much more common now I’m working 12 hour shifts), I won’t do it until I’ve eaten dinner, brushed my teeth, getting fully changed and all makeup off. I’m even making more of an effort during this time to get everything for the next day out and ready for the morning!

Having actual pyjamas

As I mentioned above, pyjamas are a bit of a fluid concept for me. I do have them, but sometimes I’ve been known to just grab whatever comfy top I can find rather than using actual pyjama options. Yes, I do have a few t-shirts and tops that I still have designated as pj options rather than day-to-day wear, but I’m training myself to remember to reach for these instead of any old shirt I can find.

Setting a pre-sleep skincare routine

More than just remembering to take off my makeup before bed, I’m actually working on sticking to a proper skincare routine before bed: makeup off, cleanse and tone face, moisturise etc. As well as being so much better for my skin, its actually a great way to wind down before getting into bed, and a little bit of self-care goes a long way!

Reducing the number of screens I’m on

I can be that person who is on my phone checking Instagram while trying to write a blog post on my laptop and also Netflixing on my iPad in the background. I like to consider myself a multi-tasker but really I’m just overstimulating myself. Now I’m on 12 hour shifts, I’ve found that I’m not reaching for my laptop anymore as soon as I get home, so I’m trying to make it more of a habit to leave my laptop for my days off, and instead just watch a movie or plan blog stuff in my notebook in the evenings after work – which also helps towards not sleeping with a laptop in my bed!

Doing distracting jobs

I’ve written before about the strange things that are the only things that I can stay awake doing, so rather than being on my many screens right before bed, I like to mix things up a few nights a week by getting other things done, like cleaning my makeup brushes, sewing or writing to-do lists for the coming days.

I’ve been trying to do all these for about 2 weeks now and I feel like I’m already seeing small improvements, so here’s hoping for the best!

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How to Create a Disney Inspired Desk Space

In reality, my desk is a very fluid space. It goes from my creative space, complete with sewing machine, a million pins and strewn with fabric off-cuts, to my blog photo studio, to the place I pile up rubbish I need to get off the floor, all in the space of a few hours at times.

Every now and then, however, I can bring order to my little desk, and last weekend was one of those occasions. With the help of my recent Disney Store purchases, I was inspired to create a magical little work space, perfect for any dreamer and doer.

Want to create your own? Here’s what you’ll need!

The desk lamp

Proper lighting is super important when it comes to an area that you’ll be working in – eye strain is not cool. My desk is a subtle nod to the classic Pixar lamp, but there are a tonne of cool Disney themed lights out there to match the look you want.

Adorable stationery

Can anyone honestly say that they don’t have a weakness for cute stationery? Notepads, pens, sticky notes, you name it, I’m all about it. Right now, Disney Store are absolutely killing it with some of their stationery, but there are so many places you can buy Disney inspired products on the high street and online.

My Mickey Mouse highlighters were from John Lewis a few months back, but there are similar ones now available on the Disney Store website!

All the mugs

I’m all about any excuse to buy a new Disney mug, but they’re so multi-functional! Sure, you’re gonna need a lot of mugs for drinking from while you’re busy at work, but they also make for excellent pen pots, or storage for push pins, paperclips.

Practical decorations

I’m obsessed with my new Mickey and Minnie washi tape dispenser and Mickey glove business card holder from the Disney Store, they make for great desk centrepieces but are also actually useful. You can also find practical uses for some of your favourite Disney items; how about using a Funko Pop as a paperweight?

Magical artwork

Now your desk is kitted out, bring a little magic to your walls! My desk is surrounded by Polaroid style prints of my favourite Disney trip photos from Sticky9 (who also do cute little magnets!), but there are also so many amazing Disney artists out there – try Etsy and Redbubble!

How do you bring magic to your workspace?

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An Open Letter to Anyone

Dear stranger,

Hey, how’s your day going? I’m asking you this in case no one else does. If it’s been great then I’m so happy for you, you’re incredible. If it’s not been such a good day, I’m here if you ever want to talk.
I may not know anything about you and your life, but I bet you’re a good person regardless. I’ll always believe the best in you. I know it’s not always easy to see the best in yourself.

I want you to know that you are always good enough. Your hair looks great and that outfit looks amazing on you, and if anyone doesn’t think that then they’re just being ridiculous. You can look and wear and do and say whatever you want. Never apologise for being you.

I also want to remind you that it’s ok to not feel ok all the time. Whether your glass is half empty or half full, you can always top it up. Please never feel alone.

Whenever you can, recycle, turn off anything electrical that’s not in use and don’t litter. These might seem like insignificant things but in doing so you’re saving our planet and providing future generations with a life. One person can make a difference and you can be that person.

You will always be unique. Try not to compare yourself or your life to another person – they are just as unique as you are. Life is unpredictable, and that’s ok.

Tomorrow is always a fresh start.

I wish you all the best, always.

A stranger

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Its Okay to Have an Instagram Life

Everyone knows there’s two sides to life: the life you actually live, and the life you share on Instagram. One is polished, with perfect lighting and edited to highlight the best bits, and the other is all the messy stuff in between. We all know which is which.

People spend a lot of time joking about things being ‘Instagram-worthy’ or having an ‘Instagram life’, but life isn’t always Instagram-perfect, and that’s more than just common knowledge; its fact. Even if you don’t have a carefully tailored theme, you still choose to share exactly what you want on your profile, and let’s face it, has anyone seen someone post a photo of them doing laundry or 8 hours into a Netflix binge.

And d’you know what? That’s ok.

There’s nothing wrong with cultivating a perfect Instagram feed. We all know that no one’s life is perfect, but its nice a small outlet where you can put together all the pretty and happy moments of life. Now I’m not talking about being false – especially with all the recent blogger photoshop drama – I just think its part of our nature to show only the good bits, and I don’t think there’s any problem with that. Its an outlet, not a documentary.

Putting together my Instagram feed gives me so much happiness. Sure, it comes with the annoyance of the constant follow/unfollowing and the struggle with growth, but I would still say its my favourite social media platform because I’m a visual person and I love taking photos and posting them to Instagram. I love finding Instagrammable spots, or putting together cute shots just for the purpose of posting. It makes me happy, and whether its all entirely accurate to how my life actually looks, ultimately happiness is the goal, right?

On the flipside, I think I’m probably the most honest when it comes to Instagram stories. Sure, I’ll put the photos that I want on there, but recently I’ve also been using it as a way of sharing my venting my feelings through chatty Insta-stories, and I love seeing other people doing the same.

I’ve learnt over the years to not compare myself to the lives that I see on Instagram for this very reason; I know that the life I put on Instagram doesn’t reflect, so I don’t expect everyone else’s to. I just hope everyone is happy.

My life might not be totally together but at least my Instagram feed is cute.

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Dear New Bloggers

It’s pretty strange to think I’ve been at the blogging game for almost 4 years now, and that’s not including a few blogs I’ve had prior to this one!Very often I do still feel like a new-ish blogger, primarily because I was blogging for a good year or two before I joined Twitter and discovered the rest of the blogging community, but the fact is I have been at this for a little while, and so today I thought I’d share some advice for those who are just starting out.
You should not be analysing your stats straight away

I don’t actually remember ever looking at my blog views when I just started out – I’m not even sure I knew how. You have to remember that it is gonna take a little while before you see a real growth.

Be in it because you love it

The reason I never looked at my stats when I first started this blog is because it wasn’t the reason I was writing. If you don’t love writing, or whatever you write about, then blogging is never gonna make you truly happy.

Don’t expect brand work straight away

I see a lot of new bloggers complaining that they haven’t been approached my brands yet, or posting a million #prrequest tweets with no response, and even when you’re an established blogger, these opportunities may not always come up. I personally don’t work with many brands and I’m perfectly happy with that because I like writing about my own stuff, and when I am approached, I appreciate it so much more!

Set your standards

Don’t think that just because you’re new to the scene that you should sell yourself short. When I first started out I did so much work for free because I didn’t think I could ask for a budget, and I also accepted any opportunity without thinking about how well it actually suited my blog, which I would never do now.

Know the game

Do a bit of research about what you should and and shouldn’t be doing. I’m not saying you need to learn how to code or anything complicated, but find out about SEO, follow vs no-follow links and the general rules around sponsored content and disclaimers.

Get involved in the community

The blogging community is so lovely and so welcoming and supportive. Sure, the occasional drama happens, but for the most part you’ll meet the sweetest people, and I guarantee a good portion of your blog readers will be fellow bloggers.

Photography is important

They say a picture’s worth 1000 words, and there’s definitely an element of truth in that when it comes to blogging. Find your style, learn what works for you and have fun with your blog photography. Remember, a marble background doesn’t have to be your thing.

Bloglovin and Instagram can be nightmares

I would say these two platforms are by far the hardest to grow, and here are my top tips for each:

Your Bloglovin won’t grow unless you actually use Bloglovin yourself. Make the effort to follow others, read and like posts and frequently share your link, and you should see some movement.

Post on Instagram because you like it. I hardly ever use my Instagram to bring traffic to my blog, I just genuinely enjoy posting to Instagram, and I like it that way.

Appreciate your niche

Not every blog has to be a beauty blog or a fashion blog; your blog doesn’t even have to have one topic. I describe this blog as a lifestyle and travel blog, with a helping of fitness, fashion and Disney magic, and that doesn’t even cover everything that I write about. You do you.

If you’re ever in need for any more tips or advice for blogging, I would recommend you take some time to read through the blogs of Maria and Corinne, who have tonnes of great posts, but cheesy as it sounds, just have fun!

Twitter / Bloglovin / Instagram

Things that Make Me Proud of Myself

I don’t know at what point in the development of society we started to focus more on our flaws than our strengths, but it almost seemed programmed into us these days. It almost seems easier to pick ourselves a part than it is to say nice things, and it feels like if you do look on the positive side of life and do build ourselves up, the fear is that it may look cocky or big-headed. Well that’s just not true.

I am definitely guilty of looking too hard at my flaws, and I think that part of me will always be that way, but there are some things that really do make me feel good about myself and my achievements, and d’you know what? I’m gonna shout about them a bit today.

When I wear an item of clothing that I made myself – or someone else does

When I was a kid all I ever wanted to do was create clothes, and now not only has it become a real hobby, but I’m even starting to make money out of my creations. I frequently wear stuff I’ve made to work and I actually love responding to ‘I love your skirt, where is it from?’ with ‘Oh I made it’.

This amazing feeling is doubled when I see someone else in something I’ve made!

Whenever I hit mile 12

In the last 2 years I have run 5 half marathons, and every single time I hit the 12 mile marker I can’t stop myself from shedding a little tear (or just having a minor cry to myself) because I can’t believe how far I’ve come – and I don’t just mean in that one run!

Being able to pay for something using money I’ve made from my small businesses

Most notably, my car’s MOT was paid for using money made from my Etsy store, as was a lot of the repair work needed. Its such an amazing feeling!

When I think about how much weight I used to lift

It wasn’t that long ago that I wouldn’t pick up a dumbbell more than about 3-kg, and now I don’t think I’d touch one that weighed less than double that. I am so much stronger than I ever thought I could be and that’s pretty amazing.

Comparing my blog stats

I get the same page views in a day now than I use to get in a whole month, and my blog is only growing. This little corner of the internet of mine brings me so much pride, and I still love every day when I can call myself a blogger.

Spread a little positivity, and tell me something that makes you proud of yourself!

Twitter / Bloglovin / Instagram

Series I Still Haven’t Finished

In an age of Netflix and on demand, does anyone actually wait to watch shows once a week for however long a series lasts anymore? Technology has spoiled us, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t as guilty as the next person for ending up 3 series deep in a programme without remembering exactly how I got there.

I do, however, have a bit of a commitment problem with some programmes; I get so far and then suddenly I can’t bring myself to go any further. This can be in the middle of a series, or while waiting for a new series to begin, it just happens randomly and suddenly – even the series that the rest of the world watch obsessively, I just lose all interest.

Game of Thrones

I didn’t have any interest in Game of Thrones when it first hit the scene, but my ex insisted I watch it and although I was confused the whole time, I smashed through the first 3 series so we could watch the 4th series when it came out. I was pretty addicted at the time, but post-breakup I didn’t have access to Sky and I couldn’t be bothered to try and remember all the characters names anymore.

Pretty Little Liars

I was late to the PLL party and left early too. I made it as far as the first few episodes of season 5 before I had to stop watching it for reasons best explained in this post. Last week I have gone back in an attempt to make it to the end, given that it all over now.

Teen Wolf

Twice I’ve got into Teen Wolf and then dropped the ball and given up. This one I can’t really explain, it just loses its appeal every now and then.

Once Upon A Time

For a series that I fell in love with so quickly, I just can’t bring myself to go any further than the point I’m at now. Maybe because I’m worried about it getting even more convoluted than it is, maybe its because I don’t want it to be over..

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

I watched the whole of season 1 in a day, but the newest series has just held zero appeal to me..

Aside from a few, I genuinely can commit to a good series, so if you have any recommendations then drop me a comment!

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Getting Out of my Comfort Zone

For someone who puts a great deal of their life and opinions online, in reality, I can be a painfully shy and awkward person, and I can really struggle with low confidence and self-esteem.

My blog, and the community of people that I have met through blogging has played an enormous part of bringing me out of my shell, and while it might sound silly, I actually surprise myself with some of the things I’ve achieved. So I’ve decided to push the boat further!

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been coming up with a list of things that I want to do, or start doing, to push my comfort zone limits and boost my confidence – call it a comfort zone bucket list, if you will..

Take part in a different Twitter chat every week

I’m so bad at remembering Twitter chats! I used to make such an effort to take part in a few, but over the last year or so I just haven’t had the time and lost my confidence a little. I always see a bunch of great chats going on, or being promoted, so I’m gonna make a real effort to try some new ones out and get chatting to some more lovely bloggers!

Post a photo in a swimsuit on my blog/social media

Last year was the first year in a LONG time that I wore a bikini in front of my friends, and it felt so good, but I definitely think my body confidence has dropped again since the start of this year. I absolutely LIVE for seeing people on Twitter and Instagram strutting their stuff and loving their bodies in summer outfits and swimwear though, so I want to become one of those girls.

More Insta-vlogging

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been doing a lot more vlog-style Instagram stories – unboxings, general chats etc – and I’ve really been enjoying them. It might not seem like much of a step for confidence, but I have struggled with listening to the sound of my own voice for as long as I can remember; the reason I tend to turn to a keyboard rather than a microphone is courtesy of the lisp I’ve had since childhood, and while in day to day life I forget it exists, when I have to hear myself back it can be hard for me.

Sharing more workouts

This year I have LOVED my Glass Slipper Camp series. I had so much fun creating the workouts, filming and writing these posts, and better still is the great response I’ve had from my amazing readers, so I want to do more! They might not all be blog posts, maybe photos, Instagram stories or even live streams from the gym, I just want to share more of my fitness journey and show what I’m capable of.

Post more selfies

On the rare occasion I do stop to take a selfie, it rarely gets shared. Normally it’ll sit on my phone for a little while until I decide to do a photo clear out and then will get deleted along with the random screenshots and weird photos that appear in my camera roll courtesy of strange Whatsapp group chats. No more! Now its time to put my face out there, whether people appreciate it or not..

Blog more about what’s actually going on in my life

The last time I did a Twitter poll asking what content people would like to see more of, the unanimous winner was ‘Personal/Life’ posts, and while I feel like I do publish a lot of post where I witter on about topics that pop into my head, I haven’t posted much recently about what’s going on for me at the moment, and change will be afoot very soon so I’m gonna make sure I’m sharing a lot more.

Experiment more with makeup

While I can go weeks without putting on any makeup (other than my eyebrows, duh), I do love doing my makeup. And while I love playing around and trying different looks with makeup when I’m sat at home, I rarely push the boat out when it comes to my day to day face, so I want to mix things up a bit more; find the courage to do brighter, bolder looks, wear different lipsticks etc.

If you have any tips for getting out of the comfort zone, drop me a comment, and if not, wish me luck!

Twitter / Bloglovin / Instagram

My Mid-Year Review

Can someone tell me where the first half of this year has gone?! ITS JULY.

The last few months have been pretty mad for me for a number of reasons, but also incredible for a whole load more, and I’m pretty excited about more things that are happening in the coming months, so watch this space! Today, however, I thought I’d have a little look back over my blogging year so far..

Blog Highlights

  • Smashing my Bloglovin target for the year at the beginning of March
  • Starting a new fitness series which was so much fun to create and has had a great response
  • Working on the collaboration of DREAMS with the Disney Store
  • Hitting 50,000 page views
  • My DA finally went up in the last update!!

While I don’t know if I consider it to be a highlight, I also took my first break from blogging for over 18 months at the end of June. Despite seeing it as a bit of a bump in the road, I do think that it was good for me, and I feel refreshed and ready to take on the rest of the year and keep adding to this list of highlights!

2017 Target Update

I last reviewed my targets back in March, but how am I doing now? (All figures as of last night!)

  • Bloglovin followers
    • 2017 goal: 500
    • Current: 680 – I’m so happy with how much I’ve been able to grow my Bloglovin this year, and I’m secretly wishing that I might hit 1000 before the year is out, so watch this space!
  • Twitter followers
    • 2017 goal: 2500
    • Current: 2183 – I’ve gained just over 200 since March, so there’s a chance that if I keep that steady over the coming months that this might be possible, but who knows?
  • Instagram followers
    • 2017 goal: 2000
    • Current: 1624 – I think everyone’s feeling the same about Instagram followers, but its just so difficult to gain numbers quickly! Back in March I was at 1445, so I’m about 200 up from then, so again its not totally impossible but I’m also not putting too much hope on it with Instagram being so silly..
  • Page views
    • 2017 goal: 65,000
    • Current: 51,338 – I surpassed the 50,000 mark a little while back, and I’m pretty confident that I’ll hit this in the next few months!

What’s coming up?

There’s going to be a fair bit of change in my life over the next few months. I’m starting a different work pattern, where I’ll be working 12 hour days but as a result will have more days off in the week so I’ll have a whole load more time to dedicate to my blog and my small businesses, and I can’t wait for that. I’ll also be posting a lot more real-life stuff as I’m expecting some big changes in the next few months!

I’ve also got more trips coming up, so you can bet I’ll be blogging those, including my first ever Disney Cruise (eek!), RunDisney in Paris and Matthew and my first Disney trip together, so stay tuned!

How was 2017 been treating you?

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Dear Customers..

‘Have Courage and Be Kind’ Cinderella 2015

I have this real love/hate thing with customers. Given that I’ve worked in customer service, in one form or another, for the last 5 years, and haven’t chewed my own arm off yet, there must be something about it that does it for me, but as anyone who’s worked in a customer facing role knows, its not always a stroll in the park..

So consider this an open letter. We’re all customers and consumers, and whether you’ve experienced the other end of the conversation or not, these are all things that we can bear in mind.

I can almost guarantee that the first person you speak to is not to blame for your problem

The person at the front desk, the shopfloor staff or the person who answers the phone; unless its a teeny tiny company that only employs two people, the chances of that person being responsible for whatever it is that you’re not happy about is probably one in a million, so don’t start roasting them personally.

And just because we can’t do whatever you want us to do, it doesn’t make us inadequate, stupid, or bad at our job

We cannot negotiate fixed prices, go against store policies or make magic happen. We’re not being stubborn, and we’re not incapable of unique thought, the chances are we can’t do what you want us to do for a reason.

And if we’re short staffed, we’re definitely the last person responsible

We’re the person who didn’t call in sick, and we’re the person having to pick up the slack for the people who did.

Please remember that we are humans and more than just a uniform

Don’t think that your custom pays our wages and therefore you can treat us however you like. Please refrain from snapping orders (or fingers, which I’ve had before..), or speaking about us as though we’re not there. When working on a checkout once, a woman told her husband that I ‘wasn’t hired based on intelligence’. Oh, and she did that while stood at the checkout with me.

Also, if you see someone in a uniform, maybe stop and check if its a uniform for the store you’re in before you shout at them for help – a guy once yelled at me to help him on a self-checkout machine at Asda, and I have never worked at Asda..

Take a second to think about the day we might be having

I always try to think about how a customer might be feeling. If you’ve had a bad day, I don’t expect you to be a total ray of sunshine and I’ll try not to judge you for being a little bit rude, but I would hope customers return the favour.

In my current job, I sometimes deal with accounts where the customer or a member of their family has recently passed away, and it is never easy. I can’t just move onto the next customer without a care in the world when I’ve just been speaking to a grieving widow.

The reason we have limited opening hours is because we have our own lives and families

Please don’t bitch when we’re rushing you because you walked in the door 2 minutes before we were due to close. Chances are we stop getting paid from the minute the clock strikes shut, and we’re probably dying to get home after a 9 hour day.

Insulting us or being rude to us doesn’t help any situation

It does not encourage us to do our best work, and the number of times I’ve been personally attacked by a customer only to hide in a cupboard for 10 minutes, or even burst into tears then and there on the shopfloor is more than what is ok.

A little bit of patience and kindness goes a long way

A ‘thank you’ or ‘take your time’ means the world when we’re running around trying to help you and 3 other people.

We love being able to help

Our job is helping you, and with the best will in the world we can’t always do that. We don’t get any sort of pleasure out of not being able to help you, but when we can its such a good feeling, so please appreciate that.

When you’re lovely, you make our day and you make us love our job

Generally, people will always talk about a bad experience, but they will rarely share a good one. Its the same for me with customer experiences; I have a wealth of bad customer stories, but if you asked me to tell you about my best customer service experience, I think I’d struggle. That said, I genuinely do LOVE lovely customers, and if I spoke to the lovely ones all day I would 100% love my job.

Even if you may not be remembered for it, be the good customer.

Twitter / Bloglovin / Instagram

Car Insurance Renewal Myths Busted

I think we can all agree that there is nothing exciting or interesting about car insurance, right? Its a legal requirement, and considered by most to be a hassle or a chore, and what’s worse is that a number of people feel like they have no idea what they’re doing when it comes to it, which can really cause problems further down the line.

So while this might not be the most exciting topic to be blogging about, I thought I’d share some advice and information from my experience of working in the car insurance industry. I’m not sharing any industry secrets or naming/shaming any particular companies, I’m just hoping to clear up some of the myths or beliefs, and hopefully help a few people out! Here goes..

I’ve had another claim free year, why has my insurance gone up?

Its a common belief that every year you go without making a claim earns you a drop in your renewal price, and while this may often be the case, there are a number of factors that could mean you see an increase. This year especially, there have been a number of changes in industry factors that have been totally out of the companies control, namely the increase in Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) and changes in legislation on personal injury compensation, both of which have hit car insurance hard.

On top of this, insurance rates are calculated based on a whole tonne of information and statistics, so while you might have another year of driving with no accidents, things like your car being another year older, or if there’s been an increase in the number of accidents or claims in your postal region, are all things that are factored in during the underwriting process.

What about my no claims discount?

No claims discount (NCD) can of course reduce the cost of your insurance substantially, and within your first few years of earning NCD, you should be seeing a general reduction in your insurance quotes, but the further up the years you get, the discount percentage increases by smaller increments, until you eventually hit your insurance companies maximum, which in most cases is 9+ years. At this point, while you may feel like your insurance should be dropping every year – which is may do! – you’re already benefiting from the highest discount you can get, so you may find a bit of a plateau.

My insurance company will give me a discount if I tell them I’m going to cancel

Sure, a lot of insurance companies will be able to offer you a discount if you express unhappiness at your renewal price, but I urge you to think about the amount of discount they give. If they can knock £100 off the price the moment you question the price, why is it they can do that without second thought? You may find you’re only offered £10-15 off, and while this may seem a little stingy, what it actually suggests is that you were sent out a pretty accurate price in the first place, rather than an over-inflated price designed to make you feel like a winner when they half the cost.

I shouldn’t have to shop around to get the best price

One of the biggest reasons that people see their insurance prices go up and up and up is because they allow their insurance company to renew the policy time and time again without comparing the market. Most insurance companies do have a preferred customer, be that based on age or any other factors, and while you may think that you’re being a lovely loyal customer staying year after year, it is possible that you can get a much better deal elsewhere. This has actually become such an epidemic that the insurance regulator has mandated that insurance companies must now put a statement on their renewal quotes encouraging their customers to shop around, so don’t be insulted if you notice this!

On the back of this, insurance companies can vary massively in how they assess your details, so one company can quote you £300 while another quotes you £600 for exactly the same cover!

Do I really need to review my insurance every year?

YES. I urge you to check through all of your documents every year, as well as being sure to update your insurance company to any changes throughout the year. Even small changes, such as a different job, becoming a homeowner, going from living at home to living with a partner or getting married; these are all factored into the calculation of your insurance premium, and its so easy to forget about informing your insurance of these changes, but they can make a difference!

What should I do if I’m uncertain about anything on my policy?

If you ever have any questions about your car insurance, the first thing you should do is speak to YOUR insurance company. While friends and family may be keen to give you advice, if they’re insured with a different company, there could be a big difference in what their insurance covers to what yours does, so bear this in mind when seeking a second opinion.

I’m sorry to bombard you with quite a lot of information, but I really hope that I’ve been able to help a few people out with this post! If you have found this helpful, please let me know as I’d love to know if you’d be interested in seeing more posts like this!

This post is primarily based on facts, but any of opinions stated in this post are my own personal views and do not reflect the views or opinions of any insurance companies.
Twitter / Bloglovin / Instagram

What Wonder Woman Wears

First up, I just want to prefix this post with a little disclaimer: I am a strictly Marvel > DC kinda gal, so I apologise up front if I say anything that isn’t accurate to the greater DC world, but Wonder Woman is the first DC movie I’ve watched in probably about 5 years or so! Also, there’s no spoilers here!

So I went to see Wonder Woman at the weekend; despite being a Marvel fan through and through, I actually thought the trailer looked pretty good, and while I’d rather chew off my leg than watch anything Batman or Superman related, I was pretty open to some kick ass girl power.

Seeing it over a week after its release date, of course I saw an initial response throughout social media, and to be honest, a lot of these tweets and posts were of very little interest to me as they discussed the plot and rated (or slated!) the film overall. What did keep catching my eye, however, were the people discussing the outfit that teenage boys reading comic books have dreamt about since 1942.

‘How anti-feminist’, ‘Why is she fighting in such a skimpy outfit’, ‘This is a step back for strong female characters’. SHUT. UP.

I’m gonna spell something out for all the people missing the point on feminism: women can wear whatever the hell they like. Does it matter what she’s wearing, if she’s inspiring a whole new generation of girls to become superheros?

I, in fact, loved that the Amazons wore what they wore. It displayed their fierceness, it showed how their bodies were strong and toned, not just skinny, and these are ideals that are so much more important for both children and women.

Would it make any difference if she was in a turtleneck and mom jeans? You’d probably find people complaining that she was too covered up and wasn’t allowed to express herself.

She saved lives. She stood up for herself. She made a difference. She had a heart and a conscience and a brain. Her outfit makes absolutely no difference in her achieving any of these results.

On another level, let’s talk about how this is the first major superhero movie to be directed by a woman. Patty Jenkins smashed it. Also, can we talk about how Gal Gadot was PREGNANT during part of the filming for this movie? I mean, if that isn’t totally incredible then what is?

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A Week In Work Outfits

After over 4 years of working in a uniform, when I started my current job back in November I was faced for the first time by the prospect of daily outfit decisions, which was pretty exciting for me.

Well 6 months down the line, I’ve definitely got into the swing of office apparel, and because we keep it fairly casual at work, I’ve really loved putting together outfits that are smart-casual and cute, and really reflect my personal style, so this week I thought I’d share my looks from every day this week!

Monday

This skirt is an all-time favourite of mine. Its a few years old now, originally from Missguided, but I just adore the little cloud print. I teamed it with this multi-layer Daisy Street bodysuit and my favourite light cardigan, along with some lace up heels.

Tuesday 

Your girl took the plunge and wore her Mickey shirt to work!! This blouse from H&M got me so excited but I was a little nervous to wear it in the office, but I’m so happy that I did because I love it! With the shirt being the main event, I just paired it with dark blue jeans and the comfiest plain black flats (psst! £4 from Primark!)

Wednesday


I really love these trousers – would you believe their from F&F at Tesco? They’re so comfy and the print isn’t too in your face, plus you NEVER have to iron them and they always look perfect! I’m also loving this blouse which I bought recently from the H&M sale, its really light which makes it perfect for the upcoming summer weather and the colour means it goes with everything.

Thursday



This outfit made me so happy! I love that my office dress code allows smart shorts – not that most people even realise that my Black Milk galaxy shorties are actually shorts! I also wear my ‘unicorns are real’ t-shirt to work more often than I care to admit, but when you’re also wearing a blazer it still counts as smart, right? The blazer is AX Paris!

Friday


 Can you tell I was posing in the rain on Friday? I got fed up of grey skies so figured my car would make a brighter backdrop! I’m not usually one for frilly or fancy sleeves, but I really love this blouse from Blue Vanilla, even if I do look a little bit like an Abba reject.. I also love any excuse to wear my chelsea boots to gain a bit of extra height!

So that’s a week in the life of my wardrobe! Depending on my mood I can go a lot more casual than I have done this week, and if I do work weekends then that’s always super casual!

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My Blogging Time Saving Hacks

I take a lot of pride in maintaining my blogging routine of at least 5 new blog posts a week, alongside working full-time and running a few small businesses.

Time is always of the essence for me, and over 6 months I’ve discovered a whole bunch of ways to ensure that I’m not wasting those precious minutes, and here are a few of my favourites:

Pre-writing scheduled tweets

Scheduling tweets is blog promo 101, but I used to find it such a chore sitting and choosing which posts to schedule, then writing them out and auto-pilot-typing those same set of hashtags and RT accounts over and over. No more! Every time I publish a new post, I write a promo tweet for it, and then I copy and paste this into one huge document of all of my posts, complete with tags and all. I have these categorised into different topics, so I just have to rotate between lifestyle, beauty, food, travel, Disney etc, and copy and paste a post from each category for each day.

The Buffer extension on iOS

I also used to think I could only schedule tweets from my laptop so that I could link posts, but I’ve since discovered that if you add the Buffer extension to Safari, I can schedule post tweets straight from my phone!

Instagram drafts

Although I’m finding them super glitchy at the moment, the drafts feature on Instagram is my favourite update since stories. I spend my work breaks editing all my photos and writing captions, then whenever I need to post I just have to pull it back up and hit publish!

Bulk writing series posts

When I have a new series planned, like my Glass Slipper Camp workout posts or pre-Disney trip outfit posts, I’ll try and sit and write them all in one go and get them scheduled and out of the way. I can only really do this when I know exactly what I’ll be writing/posting, but it works for some series!

Giving yourself a break

Ultimately, the best time saving hack is remembering that if life gets in the way and I don’t have enough time to get a couple of posts out, its okay. Rather than stressing out about stats or a dip in views, you just have to let it go and accept that life comes first, and that its alright to miss a day or even a week if you need to. Letting go is a blessing.

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8 Reasons Cher Horowitz Is a Great Role Model

Clueless might be over 20 year old now, but we all know that as a chick flick, its as timeless as Paul Rudd himself. And while to the untrained eye, Cher might come across as a stereotypical 90s spoiled blonde, when you read between the lines, I think we can all stand to remember some of the important messages she portrays.

She wears whatever she wants

Who can honestly say they wouldn’t love her a catalogued computer system that puts together outfits for you? Not to mention she owns whatever she wears and that kind of confidence is something everyone should have.

She actually knew what she was talking about

While her school debates weren’t always the most eloquent, if you actually listen to some of the topics that she speaks about, she’s not chatting rubbish.

She always had the best intentions

Making over Tai may have had ups and downs for everyone involved, but ultimately she did it to help a new girl fit in and gained a true friend from it.

She had boy standards

She knew she wasn’t interested in any of the boys at her school, and she was totally ok with that, rather than chasing random guys for no reason.

And she wasn’t afraid to say no

Telling Elton to get stuffed and getting out of the car after he tried to force himself on her is a hugely important thing to portray for young girls to learn from.

She did mind that Christian was gay

Even when she did fall for a boy, only to discover that they were both interested in guys, she wasn’t at all phased and stayed really good friends with him, rather than getting mad.

She always looked after her dad

After losing her mum at a young age, Cher took it upon herself to make sure that her dad was eating right, supported him with work and cared for him endlessly.

She just wanted people to be happy

Setting up her teachers, welcoming Tai, championing a school charity project.. You can call her a bit ditsy or think her self-centred at times, but Cher ultimately was just a nice person who wanted to make a difference.

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Get Sparkly For Summer

Who else is mega excited that the sun has finally started making an appearance?!

Sun means summer, and summer means beach days, festivals and pretty much every day is an excuse to be your best and sparkliest self – so get sparkly!

As a self-confessed highlighter addict, I make my love of all things sparkly pretty obvious, and here are a bunch of products that are perfect to get you shining away this summer:

Unicorn Heart highlighter from I Heart Makeup

I don’t reach for this highlighter nearly as much as I should do, but its multicoloured shine is perfect for music festivals and carnivals.

Barry M Dazzle Dust

I’ve loved Dazzle Dust since I was a teenager; its super pigmented and lasts really well, plus it feels so light! I have quite a few brighter shades, but at the moment I’m loving Aphrodite, which is a shell-pinky/nude which works amazing as a loose powder eyeshadow, but also when lightly dusted on your cheekbones as an extra shiny highlight.

Dandelion Twinkle from Benefit

I’m really a sucker for everything from Benefit’s Dandelion range, but I couldn’t help but pick up this new highlighter when I was last in Sephora and its so pretty!

Shimmy Shimmy Shimmer Bar from Lush

This just sorta fell into my basket when I was last in Lush.. Its a cocoa butter based bar which has the most beautiful vanilla scent, and is packed with environmentally friendly glitter! Its essentially a moisturiser which leaves you super sparkly, but you can also use it as a solid perfume and a highlighter. Rub it all over your arms and legs to sparkle away on a night out!

Illuminating Strobe Cream in Frosty Pink from Barry M

Not only is this a fab product for under £5, but this is also a highstreet dupe of Clinique’s Chubby Stick highligter which is £19.50!

Anastasia Beverly Hills x Nicole Guerriero Glow Kit

Remember when I bought this back in February and fell in love with it? Well I’m still in love with it and its going to be my best friend through the summer. Full review and swatches here!

What are your favourite summer beauty products?

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Are Lush Hair Products Worth The Money?

Something that I’m making a big effort to do in life is to choose more cruelty-free products, and towards the end of last year I switched the majority of my hair care to Lush products.

I made this change for a number of reasons. Firstly, my hair needed a major shake-up; I had to wash my hair everyday to avoid dealing with major grease issues, and secondly, I found that I was going through so much shampoo and conditioner, and probably over-using them, adding to the grease issue.

Switching to Lush products wasn’t exactly difficult, I mean, y’all know I’m a major Lushie, and I’ve used some of the products before, plus I was pretty excited to make this change to cruelty free and also cut down on the amount of chemicals going into my hair.

Now we all know that Lush products can cost a pretty penny. This has never really bothered me as I’ve always seen Lush products as a treat, and let’s face it, you can’t expect to pay Primark prices for handmade, cruelty-free high quality items, but I must admit that the thought of forking out for these on a regular basis had me a little concerned.

But here’s the thing: I’ve hardly bought any.

The switch has really been a win win scenario for me. Not only are the products so much better for my hair that I’m not having to wash it nearly as often, but I’m also being more careful about the amount of product that I’m using – partially due to be cautious of cost!

So what am I using and what am I spending?

Shampoo bars – I’ve switched from liquid to solid shampoo. Lush’s shampoo bars range from £6-8, and I tend to alternate between Seanik, a seaweed and seasalt based bar, which is available in all Lush stores, and Jumping Juniper, which is my all time favourite, although its now an Oxford Street and online exclusive. Now although I say alternate, I switched to shampoo bars back in October, and I’m only just starting my third one about now; generally I find the bars last at least 2-3 months washing every 2-3 days. Total spent since January? £12.50

Psst! Shampoo bars have no packaging, so make for a much happier environment!

Conditioner – I must admit that I was onto a winner with my first trial of American Cream, and I haven’t tried any others since – I mean if it ain’t broke? It smells so beautiful and I end up sniffing my hair all day. Conditioner being the product that I’m most guilty of over-using, I’ve really reined myself in and am using a fraction of the amount as I have done with regular branded conditioners. Total spent since January? £17.95

Rub Rub Rub – one of my favourite little Lush hacks is using my favourite shower scrub to clean my hair every now and then. Every 2-3 weeks, I’ll do a wash with a handful of this seasalt body scrub, and the results are fantastic. I’ve bought a few tubs of this, but I use more of it on the rest of my body than I do my hair!

So when your typical bottle of shampoo or conditioner costs £2-5 (and we all know that the conditioner runs out much quicker than the shampoo!), and lasts a month or two depending on how much you use it, I don’t actually think there’s that much of a difference in the amount of money I’d be spending on the market leading brands, and I’ve really noticed a difference!

I used to have to wash my hair daily, or risk a greasy second day, and now I can quite happily go 2-3 days between washes, and my hair just generally feels so much lighter and cleaner! Let’s just say, I’m not gonna be changing back!

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