Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Vintage Kilo Sale, Leeds: The Tips | Fashion

You may have seen last week over on Instagram that I was the blogger for the Vintage Kilo Sale in Leeds. It's not my first time to this event so I knew what I was looking for, and how I would go about getting it! The event is always packed because, as the title suggests, you pay by the kilo for the items you buy. One kilo costs a low price of £15, and at this event there were shoes priced at £5. Unfortunately all the shoes in my size were sold out, bummer!

I did pick up a couple of beautiful outfits from the Vintage Kilo Sale, so keep your eyes peeled for an outfit blog post to come shortly. Mostly consisting of pleated skirts and everything in polka dot print, right up my street.

Here are a couple of tips for going to a Vintage Kilo Sale:

1. Pick which time you want to go: From 11-12am the event costs £3 for early bird entry, bearing in mind there is a considerable queue outside so be aware of this in case the weather is pretty dull or raining. From 12noon the event is £1 entry, and is open until 4pm.

2. Make sure you check the rails twice, or three times: I often go back to a rail for another look when it's a little less crowded as you can have a good rummage. It's also often worth checking rails for items that have just been hung back up by people who have changed their mind, you never know what you might find.

3. Try things on: Wear something thin such as a vest top and leggings and you can try things on over the top. At this event there was a little area for changing but you might be waiting a while. There were lots of people trying things on over the clothes they had on, it's quick and easier that way.

4. Make sure you don't put anything down on a rail that you want: Because someone will run off with it, I can guarantee it.

5. Put your clothes in your bag prior to paying: And put the coat hangers in the box. Be a sport people. No one likes looking through a rail of clothes when there are single coat hangers clinging on to clothes for dear life. Also, it's much easier for you to carry everything around in your bag.

6. Be courteous: Don't knock people out of the way please. This is extremely important if you're there on crutches (as I was last time I went to the event). I understand everyone wants to pick up a bargain, but barging people out the way is not the British way.

7. Have fun: And pick up some super bargains on the way!

Usually a kilo consists of around 3-4 items of clothing, depending on your clothes size and the weight of the items you're purchasing. I think £15 for 3-4 items of vintage clothing is an absolute bargain. Plus, if you buy over 10 kilos of clothing, the price goes down to £10 per kilo!

Leeds is done for this year however, have a look on the Judy's Vintage Fair website here for other Vintage Kilo Sales happening around the UK for the rest of the year. I can't wait for them to come back next year!

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Fighting summer hay fever and sensitivities with Optrex | Beauty

Summer is finally here (I think?) so what comes with the high pollen count and summer sun? Yes, hay fever. I never used to suffer from hay fever until a couple of years ago, but do have sensitive eyes and sinusitis frequently so end up with dry, itchy eyes most of the time. It's really difficult to find a product that keeps these symptoms from bay except from Optrex, and I was delighted when they asked me to trial and review a couple of their products. 

Now what I remember about Optrex is being terrified as a child when it came to using the eye wash, and I think that's put me off using eye products. The same applies with eye drops, I'm a constant blinker and find it really difficult to drop them in as my eyes close and stay shut! I had to really will myself to using these products as I was a little afraid due to aforementioned problems, and concerned that they might sting a little bit as normally if anything gets into my eye it hurts, a lot. That was until now. 

I received four products from the Optrex range; the Multi Action Eye Wash, ActiMist 2 in 1 Tired and Uncomfortable Eye Spray, Eyedew Sparkling Eye Drops, and my favourite product, the Rehydrating Eye Drops. 

The first product I was eager to try was the ActiMist 2 in 1 tired and uncomfortable eye spray as you just spray this on closed lids, no dropper required! Phew. This is super easy to apply, just close your eye and spray once on each lid. I noticed they worked really quickly, and left my eyes feeling soothed and less itchy. What's even better about this product is that you can apply it over your make up and it won't smudge! 

The Multi Action Eye Wash, as mentioned above, is something I remember from my childhood. You place a little of the solution in the eye cup, pop over your eye and tilt your head back to give your eyes a good clean. This is always a product we have in the house just in case we get anything in our eyes, even though I'm always hesitant about using it. I did, coincidentally, end up with an annoying eyelash stuck in my eye so whipped this little blighter out. Super easy to use, and I don't know why I got myself all freaked out about using it, but I manned up and got on with the job. Quick little rinse out, with no stinging may I add, and my eye was clean and fresh once again. 

The Eyedew Sparkling Eye Drops are a product that I'm not too fussed about. The idea behind this product is that it gives sparkle to dull eyes, and makes them look a little bit brighter. Unfortunately as I wear glasses you can't really see the effect of the product, so I don't think it works well for me. Perhaps for someone without contacts or glasses, it might work brilliantly so don't take my review here as gospel. 

Last but not least, (and little wearily) I tried the rehydrating eye drops after I had a slight allergic reaction to a new make up brand I was trying out. I do suffer from sensitive eyes, and this can be triggered more so by mascara, eye liner and eyeshadow (which is more to the point why I rarely wear the stuff!). I had cleansed all my make up off and popped on my evening skincare routine when I remembered I had the rehydrating eye drops to use up after opening them. They are so easy to drop into your eyes (I have no idea why I was worried now) but a little tip is to look up and tilt your head back and drop them into the corner of your eye, blink a couple of times and you're done. They worked really quickly and left my eyes feeling soothed and rehydrated. This has been my favourite product out of the four, and I will definitely be repurchasing. 

All these products are excellent for those of you who wear glasses like myself, or spend hours looking at a screen (smartphones class as screens too!). We spend so many hours a day glued to our devices that our eyes are bound to have a little wear and tear, and these products are definitely the best to restore them to their best condition. Also, the drops and spray are also really effective and work when wearing contact lenses too. 

Optrex Actimist 2 in 1 Tired and Uncomfortable Eyes* - £12.79
Optrex Rehydrating Eye Drops* - £3.11
Optrex Multi Action Eye Wash* - £5.35
Optrex Eyedew Sparkling Eye Drops* - £3.40
(All prices from the Boots.com website)
This blog post has been written in collaboration with Optrex but all content contained within, images (unless specified) and opinions are my own.

Friday, 26 June 2015

My morning skincare routine feat. NSPA | Beauty

I've been struggling for years to find the perfect skincare routine. I find an amazing one that I can actually stick to, then I use all the products and find them unavailable to buy in the UK market. Such as happened in this blog post here. For a couple of years I used Clinique face products and found that a pretty good regime however, they really used to dry my skin out so I stopped using them.

That's when I found out about NSPA products and absolutely fell in love. I love how cheap these products are, the fact they are brilliant dupes of higher end and more expensive products, and that they work brilliantly with my skin type. I was first introduced to the Oil-Free Moisture Gel in a beauty blogger swap a couple of years back and have used it on and off since then. I'm completely hooked now and I used this every morning in my skincare routine.

I have oily and dehydrated skin and these products help keep my oil, shine and sebum at bay whilst fully hydrating my skin. I also have incredibly sensitive skin and I am allergic to a lot of products, especially around my eye area, and I can safely say all these products work wonderfully for me.

NSPA Hot Cloth Polish
Normally I liked to exfoliate every morning, but since using the olive oil cleanser from the blog post above I've become hooked on using a cream cleanser. For step one in my cleansing process I use the Hot Cloth Polish and muslin cloth to clean my skin. This works wonderfully and leaves my skin feeling clean and hydrated in the morning. I also use the same cleanser to remove my make up in an evening, and it really works, even on stubborn mascara and eye liner.

NSPA Double Action Youth Serum
I've been using this morning and evening before applying my moisturiser to give me that extra boost of hydration. I have extremely dry under-eyes and this gives me that extra boost, leaving my skin feeling firm and incredibly hydrated before applying the extra hydration with my moisturiser.

NSPA Oil-Free Moisture Gel
A wonderful dupe for Clinique's Dramatically Different Moisturiser Gel. This is a nice, thick formulation that sinks in leaving my skin feeling fresh and hydrated without being oily, leaving residue and keeping my oily skin at bay throughout the day.

All these products have been paid for by me and this is in no way a sponsored post. I just love NSPA products. I also love their price tag, and the fact they are quite frequently on offer at 2 for £8 at ASDA. Meaning I can stock up on thee products as frequently as I need to, whilst also trying out other products they have too.

I can safely say that I love this as my morning skincare routine, and I'll definitely keep using these products whilst they are easily available to me. The formulations are incredible dupes, their customer service is fantastic, and overall NSPA are a brilliant beauty company.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Get a taste for Northern Europe with a trip to Sweden | Travel

Holidaying is something many of us look forward to each year. If you’re an experienced traveller, you’ll most likely have a system in place for when you go away. Things like, choosing your destination and packing your essentials will be second-nature to you. But how about a change this time? How about holidaying somewhere you’ve never been before? Step out of your comfort zone and open your mind.
Sweden is a country of outstanding natural beauty and serenity. It’s Northern Europe’s most sparsely populated country. This allows you to enjoy peaceful, picturesque surroundings. If you’ve never visited Sweden before now is the perfect chance to do so. There’s so much on offer for those with wanderlust. Whatever you enjoy doing there’s no doubt Sweden will have something to offer you.
View the Northern Lights
One of the things Sweden is most famous for is the historic Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis. This is the name for a breath-taking natural light display visible in the skies of the Northern Hemisphere. There are packages dedicated to enhancing your experience viewing the Aurora Borealis in Sweden. This is an unprecedented, once in a lifetime opportunity you can’t let pass you by. Make sure you go visit the acclaimed Northern Lights as one of the first things you do when you reach Sweden.
Go Ice Fishing
If you’re looking for a practical experience on your holiday, that’s also packed full of culture, then try ice fishing. This is the process of fishing through a hole in the ice, and it’s a very popular pastime in Sweden. This is a very hands-on experience, and it doesn’t necessarily require special equipment. There will no doubt be opportunities for local ice fishing expeditions. So make sure you enquire about this, it’s an important experience to have.
Whale Watching
Of course, no trip to Scandinavia would be complete without a whale watching tour. How often do you get the chance to be up close and personal with these majestic creatures? This is the ultimate way to observe whales in their natural habitat. You’ll have the option to go with group tours, or to choose a more intimate, customised tour. If you want to open your mind and experience all that Sweden has to offer a whale watching tour is an absolute must.

Northern_Lights_in_Snowy_Forest.jpg
Visit Stockholm
When you’re in Sweden, you’d be remiss if you didn’t make plans to visit Stockholm, the nation’s capital. Sweden is such a diverse country, and Stockholm will provide you with plenty to do away from the icy tundra’s. For instance, you might decide to venture into medieval Stockholm and take in the most ancient part of this wonderful city. Then, of course, you might decide you want to sample some of the local cuisines, before taking a ferry ride to the archipelago.
Whatever your holidaying persuasion, there’s no doubt Sweden has plenty to offer you. You’ll be able to enjoy the delight and culture of a big city like Stockholm. However, you’ll also get to experience some of the great, snowy wide open, with visits to the Northern Lights, etc.  

Saltaire Arts Trail | Lifestyle

At the end of May during the Bank Holiday weekend we headed into Saltaire to meet up with a friend and have a walk around Saltaire Arts Trail. I don't visit Saltaire enough to know what events are going, but apparently this has been running for years and I didn't know! We popped into Saltaire a couple of days before for a visit to Salts Mill which is where we first discovered the event running over the weekend. The Monday was quite a nice (dry!) day so we decided to head over and see what was going on.

Saltaire Arts Trail is what is says on the tin, a trail of art around Saltaire. You actually get to head into people's homes to discover local artists and handmade items. It's such a lovely experience to follow the trail around the beautiful terraced houses in Saltaire, and we had loads of fun. The main highlight for me was being able to walk into people's living rooms and have a sneak peek of their furniture and decor, I'm huge on lifestyle and interiors so this was such a nice experience! Victoria Hall was open to a maker's event and lots of artists had their own stalls selling their artwork. There were so many interesting pieces that I can't put my finger on just one. I did end up taking a lot of photos so this blog post will be image heavy even though I've narrowed them down quite significantly.

A couple of my favourite pieces had to be the printed jars, and the artist let me take a chocolate bourbon biscuit too! The wire birds were so delicate and absolutely stunning, although they were a little pricey (too much for me to buy one!) they would look absolutely stunning on anyone's shelf. Last but not least, are they amazing yet creepy baby-dogs.

So much work went into this event, and it looked to be such a huge success! There were loads of people walking around and visiting houses. I'll definitely be heading over again next year, and will try and make a more conscious effort of visiting every house this time! I did have Dexter with me so it was quite awkward trying to take him in every home with me. As you can imagine, small fingers love to touch everything.

Easy tips and ideas for throwing the best birthday celebration for your friend | Lifestyle

Recently, a close friend of mine told me she was turning thirty but didn’t have any celebrations planned, so I decided to step in. She’s been a fantastic friend to me, and I wanted to do something to show her that. So I decided to organise her a surprise birthday celebration.

In case you fancy doing the same for a friend of yours, I thought I would share my party planning tips with you.

birthday cake 2.jpg

Choose a suitable date
The first thing you need to do is choose a suitable date for the celebration. Ideally, you either want to choose a Friday or Saturday, so that no one has to worry about getting to bed early because of work.

One thing I would say is don’t plan the party for the actual day of their birthday. Your friend may have other ideas about how they want to spend their birthday, so plan the celebration for the weekend before.  

Pick a venue
The venue you choose will depend on how many people are on the guest list, for a smaller party, celebrating at your house could work well. For a larger event, you may need to hire a larger venue, such as a restaurant or hall.

Perhaps you would like to plan your celebration a little further from home, such as at a restaurant in Blackpool or Bristol. If you choose a venue that’s far from where you live, you could always organise hotel rooms so that you could stay there overnight.  

Send out invitations
Once you have set a date and chosen a venue, the next step is to create a guest list and send out the invitations. Although you are organising the celebration, it’s important to make sure that you invite the right people.

Unless it’s a surprise party, there is no reason you can’t get your friend involved in the guest list planning. At least find out whether she wants the party to be for just friends or friends and family, as this will give you an idea of who to invite.

It’s also worthwhile checking with your friend, to make sure that there isn’t anyone she doesn’t want to come along. If it’s a surprise, ask her partner of other friends if they can think of anyone, she wouldn’t want to include.

Organise a cake
It isn’t a celebration without a cake. If you are unsure about the type of cake your friend likes, try to find out. You can either get the topic of her favourite cake subtly into the conversation or you can ask her outright. Either way, it’s important to find out what her favourite cake is so that you can make or order it.

If you are a good cook and have the time to bake a cake, then there is no reason not to make the cake yourself. If you don’t have the time, choose a good bakery and put your cake needs into their hands.

Organising a birthday celebration for a friend is a lovely way to show them that you care. While it can be stressful organising a party or meal, if you are organised with your planning, it doesn’t have to be.

Incredible, cheap ways to enjoy the Summer | Lifestyle

Summer is the best time to get out and about, even if there might be the occasional risk of getting caught in a shower. Even if you're not going on holiday, you can do lots of things in the evenings and at weekends to have fun. Whether you're on your own, with friends or a partner or have the kids with you, you can find things to do. However, it can get expensive if you aren't careful. If you're strapped for cash, you don't have to stay inside and give up on enjoying the summer. You can have a good time on your own, with your friends or with family, and you don't have to end up penniless. Here are some of my tips for having fun without spending too much.

Explore Your Local Area
A lot of people yearn to get away from home in the holidays, but I say there's no need. Many people don't know their local area as well as they think, and you might realise you still have a lot to explore. Maybe there are some tourist attractions you've never visited or some new places to go to in the next town over. Even going for a short walk or drive can help you discover a new pub or cafe, where you can sit outside and enjoy a drink.

30718039_be2753306f_z.jpg
(Image credit from James)

Save on Events and Activities
You might think you have to avoid any structure events or activities if you want to save money. But there are lots of things you can do for little money or even for free. If you wish to buy event or attraction tickets, look for ways you can reduce the price. Sometimes all it takes is going on a particular day or as a group. There are also lots of free events or activities you can do, especially if you live in London or in another large city.

Have Fun in the Garden
If you have a garden, it's a great place to have fun alone or to invite all your friends around. Do some gardening or sit with a book and a cold drink if you want some peace and quiet. Or you could hold a garden party or barbecue. To save on food and drinks, get everyone to bring something so that you aren't paying for everything.

Make the Most of the Outdoors
As well as your garden, there's a whole world outside that you can explore. If you're trying to get fit, walking or riding your bike are excellent ways of getting out and having fun. You can go alone, take some friends or make it a family day out.

Share the Costs
Going out with friends is one of the best ways to spend less. You can split the cost of petrol, taxis or other expenses, so none of you are spending too much. If you're with your kids, you could team up with other parents. For example, two mums and two children could get a family ticket in a lot of places.

There are so many ways to have fun in the summer, and you don't need to spend a lot. So get out there and enjoy yourself.