Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Bedroom Wish List feat. George Home & Yankee Candles | Lifestyle

I'm not sure what it is lately, but I'm obsessed about bedroom furnishings. I'm spending a lot more time in my room, unfortunately in bed with my back being out of action, so I'm thinking of things I can do to make myself feel happier and more comfortable. Simply things like a bunch of flowers and new Yankee Candles are making me feel like a Queen.

George have been one of my favourite Supermarket brands for absolutely years, and the majority of my wardrobe comes from there too. Their home furnishings are absolutely gorgeous, and well affordable allowing you to change your decor as often as you fancy! There's no need to talk Yankee Candles, we all know I'm a convert now. I'm currently burning a Bunny Cake votive but would love a jar!

The Streets of York (Architecture Photo Diary) | Lifestyle & Travel

Monday, 30 March 2015

Lighthouse 3D Jigsaw Puzzle | DIY

I adore puzzles, in fact my whole family is puzzle mad, and it's always been around me since I was a little girl. Even Dexter has his own small wooden puzzles to get him into training for the big jigsaw puzzles.

When Hobbycraft asked if I would try one of their 3D jigsaw puzzles I knew I had to give one a go; my nephew in Australia is sent a couple every year and he absolutely adores them. I chose the 3D lighthouse jigsaw* (£15.00) as I thought it would look awesome in Dexter's nautical themed outside playroom (my old Wendy House) when I'd finished.
So what do you get in the box?
A super plastic puzzle, this is brilliant as there are no flimsy bits that can break and it holds together really sturdily, even though there are 216 pieces in the bag. It also comes with a base, and the top of the lighthouse. Oh and the instructions, but nobody really reads those right?!
There are 216 pieces to the puzzle, but and this is a big but, they are all numbered! I've never seen a puzzle with numbered pieces, and this made such a difference to the enjoyment of putting the puzzle together. I can normally loose interest pretty quickly when pieces don't fit, but it was really simple and only took me around an hour to complete.

I did the old 'separate the pieces into a box' trick, made sure they were all numbered side up and then divided them into their corresponding numbers of ten. It made it a lot easier and quicker when they were all together to quickly pop the tower up.
As I said, it only took me around an hour to put together, pop all the stickers on, and have a complete lighthouse which I think is a winner. Especially as holiday times will be upon us soon and you may need an extra couple of tricks up your sleeves to keep the small ones entertained. Saying that though, these puzzles are suitable from 10 years upward, not just due to small parts but because it can be a little complicated at times.
And here she is taking pride of place on my erm, well she's sat on the bed at the moment and currently resides in my bedroom until I've finished off Dexter's playroom. What do you think? Have you checked out Hobbycraft's jigsaw puzzles yet? I find that craft puzzles like this seem to be a dying art only associated with the older generation, but they are so much fun and easily affordable!

A Boots Beauty Haul | Beauty

As I've been laid up in bed for the last week, I decided it would be nice to treat myself; and what better than when a Boots 3 for 2 cosmetics offer is on? 

I've been lusting after the Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer after seeing so many bloggers rave about it. I was a little dubious at first but I've been watching more YouTube make up tutorials and it works like magic. I'm hoping it will cover the dark circles I have, and help even my skintone out a little. 

I rarely use a primer, but yet again I've seen a few bloggers recommend the Seventeen Skin Wow Primer so thought I'd give it a go under my tinted moisturiser for that added radiant glow all sleep deprived mums need.

I'm not a huge fan of foundations and really struggle to find any that give me the little amount of coverage I want however, after seeing the Maybelline Dream Flawless Nude Foundation looking like it gives a buildable and nude coverage I thought I would give it a try. I'm not holding my breath though and I'm sure it'll end up on a blog sale. 

I love Sleek products, they are simply amazing and their blushers provide such good pigmentation and last so well that I thought I would pick up another. I picked up 'Life's A Peach' for a pale coral spring colour. I also picked another of the lipsticks, this time in Russian Roulette; a stunning dark cherry colour that I think will be very easily worn. 

Lastly, although really late to the #bbloggers game, I chose a Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet Lipstick in shade Frambourjoise; a stunning raspberry toned red shade that I think will be beautiful in the summer. 

So what do you think of my picks? Could I have done better? Do you have any recommendations for next time?

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Should you buy a holiday home abroad? | Lifestyle & Travel

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As our preparations for moving to China slowly plod along, the anticipation of the move is getting very exciting. But what if we weren't moving permanently, and we were only renovating a holiday home? I've spent a lot of time in China before, and there are lots of other people who spend significant amounts of time in the same country for their holidays. Although some people stay with family, many don't. And a home to call their own would be much more convenient than different hotels, houses and apartments every time they visit. If you're thinking of buying a holiday home, there are some things you should ask yourself first. Don't invest in property abroad before having answers to these questions.
Can you afford it?
The most important question has to be whether you can afford to own a second home abroad. You need to think about not just if you can pay for it now, but whether you will still be able to if anything happens and you have a loss of income or change in your expenses. You might be thinking about renting it out to help pay for it, but you need to make sure that you'll be able to make enough money to make it worth it.
What sort of home will you buy?
You need to think about what type of holiday home you're going to buy. First of all, do you want something that belongs to you only, or will you get a timeshare? There are lots of different types of home to choose from, depending on where you want to buy. You could purchase anything from a static caravan or motorhome to an apartment or full-sized house. If you want to rent it out, you need to think about what other holidaymakers are interested in. For example, owning a villa in the South of France could present more opportunities for making money than buying a flat in an obscure town in Romania.
Where will you buy?
You might already have a particular country in mind, but it's best to narrow it down even further. First, you need to check that foreign nationals are allowed to buy property there. Then there are other factors that will be affected by location. Some places will be cheaper, but they could also receive less tourism. This would be good if you want to be in a quiet location, but would make it more difficult to rent out if that's what you want to do. You might have to consider other things too, such as which regions are prone to natural disaster.
What will happen when you're not staying there?
 When you're not holidaying in your home, will it sit there empty? If you purchase a timeshare, other people will come and go. But if you own the property outright, you'll probably consider renting it. In that case, you need to make sure there's someone in the country to manage it. It's important to take this into account when you're working out whether it's a good investment.

Buying a holiday home is a significant decision and one that you can't take lightly. Make sure you think about it carefully before you come to any conclusions.

My life this week | Lifestyle

(Some images sourced from WeHeartIt, but edited by myself)

Most of you will probably know that this week I've spent the majority of it in bed, unhappily, due to spinal and nerve damage I had last year when my pelvis was dislodged and a slipped disc. Let's just say it's been no fun spending the week on really, really high dose medication that's left me crying for most of the week wondering if I'll ever get better.

Anyway, towards the latter end of the week I started to feel a lot better, I'm putting it down to drinking copious amounts of tea and eating cake. 

I thought I would do my first 'life this week' blog post; I much prefer these to 'life in Instagram' posts as I don't really Instagram as much as I used to do.
Reading
This week I've been reading my 'Personal Branding for Creatives' workbooks. I've been at a loss with my blog, and thought I would sign up to Zie's e-course. It's fabulous and it's really helping me make changes for the better, you may have noticed the blog has changed, along with my post content too. I'm trying to engage more with my readers and post quality content but 'keeping it real'.
Watching
I've been binge watching Pretty Little Liars however, to start with last Saturday I watched the whole series of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and it's the most amazing series ever. I'm now up to the end of series three of PLL after watching around 10 episodes a day. That's a lot I know, but being bed bound doesn't leave me with other options. I'm highly addicted and have no idea what I'll do when I'm fully caught up.
Eating
It's no surprise I like cake, but I've developed an obsession with Red Velvet Cake. The best I've found so far (except handmade of course!) is from Asda. Its a shame the cakes cost £5 a go, but they are certainly worth it as a treat.
Drinking
Tea. Oh so much tea. Especially Earl Grey, it's delicious. I take mine with milk and two sugars. I've placed a rather large tea order with the Bluebird Tea Co. so that should be here this week. I'll definitely be blogging about that next week and all the amazing spring flavours they've released.

Friday, 27 March 2015

Fancy becoming a fashion designer? | Lifestyle & Fashion

Do you ever find images of great fashion and then spend months visiting every store in the country trying to find something similar that fits? Most of us have had our hearts set on one or two gorgeous pieces that only seem live out there online. If we are investing our money on our look, then it needs to be right, and none of us should have to settle for disappointment. If you are a creative and skilled person, you may even have considered making something similar yourself.

For some, it is footwear. You can never find that gorgeous pair of boots to fit your calves. For others, it’s tops. They tend to be too short on you. Some people find a skirt that fits around the waist well just won’t make it past the thighs to pull up! Whatever your fashion angst, we’ve all been there, and we’re all pretty fed up with it. But would you dare create your own outfit from scratch?

Sewing and dressmaking are highly skilled jobs. They take years of experience and endless patience. But unless you try it, you won’t know if you could be any good at it! Get yourself a photo of something you want to create. Now you are going to need a good friend to measure those parts of the body this incredible garment needs to cover. Once you have all the essentials, see if you can apply it to a standard template.


Next, you are going to need to buy the right fabric. Try looking at dance fabrics online to get you started. There is certainly no point in going with drab if you’ve come this far! If you don’t have a sewing machine, you may be in for a long haul. See if you can borrow one, or pick one up cheaply. Alternatively, take an adult education course in dressmaking so you can also tap into some professional advice to see you on the right track.

Creating your own clothes isn’t easy but it certainly isn’t impossible. For the most part, things that you create can be tweaked to make any errors right. Always leave yourself plenty of room for error and start small. If it is summer, you can choose something loose and flowing, meaning there is more wiggle room for error. Don’t start with your wardrobe essentials, but rather something that acts as a layer and can be removed if it’s not working.

It certainly is worth having a go at trying to make something. For the most part, it is all about the fabric you choose. The pattern and color of the fabric will draw attention long before the finish on the sewing does. Clever choices can also help you work more effectively. Think about how the pieces need to connect together. Do the patterns or colors need to match or do you have more freedom? Enjoy having a first go a fashion design, and then use the outcome as a learning tool for your next masterpiece.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

You Beauty Box (March) | Beauty

I'm probably late to the game as everyone has already reviewed this months You Beauty box however, it's because of these reviews that I decided to subscribe again. I mean have you seen the Illamasqua lipstick?! Well that had me sold. 

I like the concept of the You Beauty box. Each month you pick two products you want to be included, but you can also see the other contents. They provide both sample and full sized products for a bargain price of £6.95 including delivery; that's half what you would normally pay for any other beauty box on the go. I did get myself a little confused when I originally subscribed as I didn't quite understand how it worked, but just make sure you pick your products each month or they will send you something at random, or in one of my cases, no box at all. 

This month the three products included in the box were a Dove Youthful Variety shampoo and conditioner, and a Nakd bar (not shown as I couldn't resist eating it - I got the chocolate and orange flavour!). From the choices available to me, I opted for the full size Illamasqua lipstick in Sangers, a gorgeous dark red shade that I'm in love with, and the #LipGlam lip balm. 

I'm happy with all the products I've received this month, and will definitely be first in queue for next months picks too. 

Suitcase Essentials For A Holiday In The Côte d'Azur | Fashion & Travel

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The Côte d'Azur is one of the most popular places in Europe during the summer holidays. And it’s very clear to see why so many tourists and celebrities are attracted to this area of the world. The many stunning beaches, beautiful cities and luxurious accommodation are just some of the highlights of this coastal region of France.

If you are planning a holiday to a destination in the Côte d'Azur, it can be tricky to know what to pack. You’ll want to look as glam as everyone else who lives in and visits this area, while remaining cool and comfortable in the heat. This dilemma can lead you to pack your entire wardrobe, just so that you have plenty of options. Having visited this area a couple of times, in this post I will share with you my suitcase essentials for a holiday in the Côte d'Azur.
Beach day
The Côte d'Azur has a number of spectacular coastal cities like St Tropez and Cannes that are very popular during the summer. If you like a lively beach full of sophisticated and glamorous sun worshipers, these are the destinations to visit. Pack:
  • your finest bikini or swimming costume;
  • a loose kaftan or summer dress for when you need to cover up;
  • a pair of statement sunglasses;
  • a pair of gorgeous flip flops; and
  • a beautiful beach bag.
Sightseeing day
The cities of the French Riviera are where everyone goes to strut their stuff. Nice is one of the most popular locations in this region. The city has something for everyone. There are seaside restaurants and bars, museums for art lovers, charming churches and streets and streets of designer shops. There is also a great variety of accommodation in Nice that you can find out more about at Venere. For a day out in one of the glamorous towns and cities in the Côte d'Azur, pack:
  • a maxi dress that you look and feel cool in;
  • a light shirt or jacket that you can wear to cover your shoulders if you plan to visit any churches.
  • gorgeous jewellery that complements the colours in your outfit;
  • a small cross-body handbag to carry your essentials for the day; and
  • a pair of beautiful and comfortable leather sandals.

Evening out
Most locations in the French Riviera have a very lively nightlife. From sophisticated terrace restaurants and bars to glamorous nightclubs, you’ll certainly not be short of options. For an evening out in one of these locations, you’ll want to look and feel super stylish. Pack:

Your holiday is in the Côte d'Azur is undoubtedly going to be a stylish one. To avoid packing too much, stick to a few simple, beautiful garments and create different looks with your shoes, bags and jewellery. Have a wonderful time you lucky ladies!

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Living Room Wish List - The Furniture Edition | Lifestyle

You may have seen my previous few posts on bedroom wish list items, and my recent apartment renovation posts, which have got me thinking a lot about the little things (or not so little!) that I need to furnish my apartment. We do have some old furniture there that are hand me downs, but it's always nice to have your own furniture to make a place your own. 

Between me and the hubby, we have a lot of stuff that we've accumulated separately over the years that now resides in storage (my parents attic). We don't want to get rid of it all, a lot of it are hubby's important journals and architecture books, and a lot of my stuff are cute accessories and furnishings I've collected over the years. We need somewhere to display our things, rather than just putting them away in a cupboard; because these items are what makes us who we are. 

I've been checking out Furniture Plus Online for inspiration and ideas of what we can use to display our belongings, and here is a little wish list I've compiled. As I say in every single post that I write about our apartment, it's dark, and small, and I want to try and create as much light in there as possible so I'm sticking to lighter woods, and Furniture Plus Online offer the best quality solid oak and pine. Perfect. 
1. Mobel Oak Mounted Widescreen TV Cabinet - £399. In China the TV is mounted on the wall, or on a wall mounted TV stand with a drawers and shelves underneath. This is the first time I've actually seen one of these in the UK so I was delightfully surprised! | 2. Mobel Oak Large 3 Drawer Bookcase  - £439. Matches perfectly with the TV cabinet, and I love things that match. It's the perfect size for hubby's books, and with drawers at the bottom for all our paperwork too. | 3. Mobel Oak Twin Pedestal Computer Desk - £519. I thought it would be nice to finish our living room off with a desk, now we don't have a lot of space in our living room and it'll be a multipurpose office too, so this desk is an ideal space saver where we can both work together and have space to safely store our things from little hands!

*This post was written in collaboration with Furniture Plus Online.

Bedroom Wish List - The Bed Edition | Lifestyle & My Motherhood Diary

I've been thinking a lot lately about furnishings for my apartment once it's all finished and looking brand spanking new. You may have seen my recent 'bed linen wish list' post however, I haven't actually thought about the bed. Yeah, oops silly me! 

As my apartment is pretty dark, and the lighting is pretty dire so I will be having light wood; ideally I'm thinking of keeping everything white and very modern and simplistic. I like to make an effort with all the accessories I put in, and those bring colour and life into any room. 

My bedroom is pretty huge, much bigger than the one I have now, so I'm hoping (fingers crossed) that hubby agrees to letting me have a king size bed, lots and lots of room to spread out. Oooh I can't wait! 

I've been checking out what BedZRus have to offer, and here are a few of my favourite picks. All these beds are bargain prices, and come with free next delivery - what's not to love?! I do think my favourite has to be the Bretton king size bed though, I love the minimalistic look and the under bed storage is a massive plus with the amount of shoes and bags I own! 
1. Airsprung Devon King Size Bed - £199.99 | 2. Harmony King Size Bed - £199.99 | 3. Bretton King Size Bed - £249.99 

We can't of course forget about Dexter can we?! BedZRus have a fantastic collection of children's beds too. I know he's still in his cot bed at the moment, but at the rate he's going he'll definitely need something soon. I was looking for something functional, with plenty of storage, and something fun for his room. Here are my final three picks. 
1. Kidsaw Shorty Blue Junior Bed - £118.99. This bed is ideal for his first 'proper' bed when he outgrows the cot bed, it's low to the floor so I don't need to worry about him falling out too far. | 2. Captain Single Bed - £619.99. What isn't to love about this bed? It's a ship! Enough said. | 3. Thuka Hit 8 White Mid Sleeper - £219.99. This is definitely the most fun bed I've ever seen, and I would have loved one of these as a kid. Hours, and hours of fun! 

*This post has been written in collaboration with BedZRus. 

Individual tips & ideas for planning a baby's birthday party | My Motherhood Diary

One of the best things about being a mum is planning parties and events for your child. With so many things to do, though, planning parties sometimes falls to the bottom of my list. I adore having all my nearest and dearest around me for a party, but never feel as though I have the time. A few month's back it was Dexter's first birthday, and I set my sights on hosting an event that everyone would remember. Now, I can't wait to start planning his next birthday (I know, it's ages away), and so I've been noting down ideas. I thought I would write a quick post to share some of my ideas and tips with you.
Make a themed cake
This one is a bit of a challenge, but I am willing to give it a go! I want to make a themed cake for the next party I host. I've been looking online, and there are quite a few tutorials out there that I might use. Of course, there are loads of recipes and stuff, but I like the idea of following a video on YouTube so that I can pause it when I need to. The baking isn't so much the hard part here; it is the decorating that will take a long time. I suggest getting some premade sheets of icing and using them.
plan activities
For the party itself, you need activities and games. You will probably invite loads of mothers with young children, and so you need to find a way to entertain them. I like the idea of classic kids' games, such as 'pin the tail on the donkey' and 'hide and seek'. You should do a little research and find games that are age appropriate for the kids attending the party. The important thing is that each activity should hold the children's attention.
Get personal balloons
Decorating the room for the party is perhaps the biggest job of all. If you are anything like me, you will not have a whole load of time to do this job. I'm thinking of ordering balloons before the party from a site like Balloons Galore. I think it is important to get personalised balloons for the party, and so I might get some with Dexter's name on them. Alternately, there are, of course, character balloons and birthday ones too.

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(Image by Jonathan)
Make some bunting
You might have seen my post back in October about creating bunting from baby towels. Now is the perfect time to use the skills we learned then and apply them to a real-life situation. Small kids grow so fast, and so using up their old clothes this way makes sense. You can use the bunting as a decoration in your living space. Hang it from the ceiling for a party effect.
Appoint a photographer
If you have a baby, you know that every event turns into a photo shoot. The moment your friends come around to your house, they are going to want to take a million photos of your little one. If you want people to enjoy the party, you should appoint just one photographer for the event. Ask your partner or closest friend to take all the birthday pictures. You can send copies of the photos to people after the event.

Don't forget the adults!
When you plan a party for children, it is easy to forget the adults who will attend too. You should plan a few fun things for the adults to do while the kids are playing games. You could even plan some party games for the adults so that they can take part in the celebrations as well.

I hope these tips help you when you plan your child's next birthday. At the moment, these are just vague ideas, but I have a matter of months to nail down the details!

A case of wanderlust: UK and Europe destinations | Travel

I've been thinking a lot lately about spending more time in China with a view to moving to the Far East permanently (as you may have seen from numerous renovation and travel posts!) however, it's really made me think about places I haven't visited in the UK and Europe that I know I will certainly struggle with when I move. Whenever I have travelled, it's always been the Far East and I've always dismissed travelling in Europe, although now hubby is leaving Germany I feel like I've missed my shot at having that 'European base' to wander around from. So I thought I would devise a sort of bucket list of places I would love to visit over the next few years. 

Cornwall | UK

I thought I would stay close to home for this one. I have never been that far down south, and the coastlines are simply to die for. Where we live in China the nearest coastline is around six hours away by train, so you can guess we won't have that 'seaside effect' very often, if at all. I'm not a big fan of water sports so wouldn't do the whole surfing thing etc, but there are some beautiful gardens/nurseries, arts and cultural activities to see, and Tintagel Castle looks absolutely breathtaking. For that added piece of luxury on a staycation, Chic Retreats have some beautiful boutique hotels to stay at too.

Rome & The Vatican City | Italy

I'm sure this city is on most people's travel lists however, I studied Roman mythology as part of my BA Humanities degree and it made me more obsessed with the place. I love visiting destinations with a lot of history and plenty of stories to tell. For me it really is about mythology, so visiting attractions such as the Colosseum, and Pantheon would make me an extremely happy lady. However, although I myself am an atheist, I have such a high interest in religion, and I would be extremely overwhelmed to visit the Vatican City.

Sicily

I must have a bit of an Italian theme going on here as next on my list is Sicily. The Tempio della Concordia is an elegant Greek temple, and one of the best preserved in the world; to be able to stand in front of this beautiful piece of architecture would be awe-inspiring. Whilst in Sicily I would love to take one of their many cooking classes, and improve my Italian cooking skills! Heading to Syracuse would be the ultimate destination, with it's stunning Greek ruins and architecture surrounded by citrus orchards, it's a piece of heaven; Chic Retreats have a plethora of boutique hotels in the area adding to the sheer luxury of this destination.

Reykjavik | Iceland 

I've been intrigued by the Northern Lights since I was a little girl, and find them simply fascinating. I would love to be able to travel with Dexter to see such beauty when he's older so he can really appreciate them. I don't really like the cold so this has sort of put me off a little bit, but there are so many amazing attractions in Reykjavik that I wouldn't like to miss because it's a little bit chilly. There are so many beautiful natural attractions to visit, such as the Nauthólsvík geothermal beach, and being able to witness the breathtaking midnight sun.

Bucharest | Romania

I know this seems like a very strange place to want to visit, but we are very lucky to have a friend who is from Bucharest and suggested we should visit and have a tour of the monasteries. As I said above, I love visiting places with religious meaning and can often be found sat in a church for hours looking at the intricate architecture, and there is so much to behold in Romania. As I love art and culture, I would definitely visit the Art Collections Museum and the History and Art Museum, as well as attending my very first opera!

*This post has been written in collaboration with Chic Retreats.

Looking for a non-abrasive exfoliator? Try the Natural Skin Shop | Beauty

You may have seen my blog post recently on the Natural Skin Shop's face peel, and simply how amazing I think this product is however, they offer a lot more than just face peels. When asking if I wanted to try their face peel, they also suggested I try one of their exfoliators. Now normally I'm a little bit funny about exfoliators as I like the harsh ones with beads or bits of grit (I know I'm the worst beauty blogger ever, I don't even know proper terminology!) and only use them as psychologically I presume they will be cleaning my skin and pores. 

I did try the Brighten 10% AHA Vitamin C Daily Exfoliator* from their collection and fell in love with it. It's a completely liquid product so I was initially pretty concerned how it would leave my skin feeling, would it leave a greasy residue or not feel clean? But I was pleasantly surprised, it felt much cleaner than some of the exfoliators that I've tried in the past. And if you want to have a deeper (more abrasive exfoliate) you can clean your skin with the gauze that also comes with the product. I opted for this idea and it felt amazing. I could definitely see where it has worked it's magic. I have a lot of sebum and gunk on my nose (yucky clogged pores) and on my chin (yeah I know, weird right?!) and this almost managed to remove and de-clog my pores. I would say around 80% of gunk was removed.   The best part of this product is that you can use it daily. 

Would I repurchase this again? Most definitely. I absolutely love Natural Skin Shop's products, and they have all easily fallen into my skin routine. Again, this product comes up a little pricier than some of the high-street drugstore brands that I am accustomed to, but at $32/£21 it's hardly broken the bank. 
This blog post contains product samples, all opinions are my own. 

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Travelodge York Central | Lifestyle, Travel & My Motherhood Diary

I was very lucky to be offered a two night stay at a Travelodge hotel, so I had to pick York right? I've only ever been once before and didn't have much time to explore (plus all my photos were deleted!), so a couple of days there sounded ideal; and what better than to head over on Mother's Day? 

We stayed in Travelodge York Central, not to be confused with Travelodge York Central Micklegate, which did confuse me a lot! Ours was a beautiful building at the side of the river, and based on Picadilly was a five minute walk from all the shops and the centre. The highlight of my trip! 

The hotel staff were very accommodating as I asked for a couple of things; as I was taking my mum I asked for them to switch the room to a twin, and for a travel cot in the room as Dexter would be travelling with us. The staff were extremely attentive and went out of their way to make us feel comfortable, at home, and organise my changes. Something which I have had experience of at other Travelodges I've stayed at previously. 

The room was very clean, all linen was provided and the travel cot was set up on arrival. The bathroom was a large size (but this could be down to the fact the twin rooms offer disabled access) and had both a bath and a shower. This was perfect for a relaxing pampering bath with my Lush and Yorkshire Soap Co. goodies! 

The hotel itself was also very family friendly, there are two lifts to all floors and the door are very easy to open and close. This can be tricky when handling a buggy and a suitcase!
You are provided with 30 minutes free WIFI access however, it's charged at £3 daily with packages for longer stays. This was my only issue however, if you are looking for a cheap, quality stay you can expect to be paying for extras like this. 

A double room at Travelodge starts at £29, and they have some wonderful offers on for Easter and spring breaks at the moment. We stayed Sunday to Tuesday which would have cost £90* for two nights in a double room for two adults and one child. 

Travelodge also offer breakfast in a box, you can choose from two options: Good Morning and Rise and Shine. The Good morning box contains a bottle of orange juice, a pot of cereal with milk, muffin and Nutrigrain bar whereas the Rise and Shine box contains a bottle of orange, muffin, Eat Natural bar, and a yoghurt. Both cost £4.50* and are great for breakfast on the go. They did also sell extras on their menu (albeit small) and we also picked up a portion of porridge for Dexter costing £1.95*. On the Tuesday morning however, we did opt for a hearty full English breakfast at the Wetherspoons downstairs as we would be travelling back and missing lunch.
We had a wonderful stay at Travelodge York Central, and would like to say a big thank you for letting us stay with them for our two-night City break.

*Two-night stay and breakfast at Travelodge was provided for review purposes however, opinions are all my own.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Easter Wreath | Lifestyle & DIY

Here is the first in my DIY Easter series. I thought I would begin with something simple, an Easter wreath. Now of course you can use this idea for other celebrations and occasions throughout the year, it really is that simple to change! I did take inspiration from Pinterest however, there wasn't a particular tutorial available so I have just done as seen. I will explain it all to you now. A big thank you to Country Baskets for providing me with a voucher to put towards my materials. 
What you will need:
Cute bunny(!)
(the above were purchases from Country Baskets)
Scissors or pinking shears
Hat pins (optional)
Cotton
Wool
Step 1:
Wrap the ball of wool around the oasis foam ring. Warning: this can take a lot of time, and those with allergies are best to wear a mask (as I did!) it can be very fine and get up your nose. 

Step 2: 
Cut your felt into strips (size entirely up to you) and wrap around to make flowers, secure these with the cotton. Use the hat pins to secure into place, you can glue them if you prefer. Stick the stems of the roses into the oasis. 

Step 3:
Cut and tie a length of lace to the top of your wreath for hanging. 
Step 4:
Add your super cute Easter bunny to the middle! 

There you have it. A quick and easy Easter wreath that doesn't break your bank, and will brighten up anyone's home. You can use any colour scheme you like, perhaps brighter colours for Spring however, I really liked the colour choice I've picked as it matches my decor. 
*Voucher provided from Country Baskets to pay for some materials. 

4 Tips For Looking And Feeling Cool This Summer | Fashion

I don’t know about you ladies, but I find it a bit of a challenge to look cool and feel cool in the summer sun. However, because I spend a lot of my time in the heat, I have had to adapt to it. Over the years, I’ve come up with a few beauty and fashion tips that have helped me keep my cool in the scorching temperatures, and I want to share them with you. So, read on for my top tips on looking and feeling cool this summer.


1. Refrigerate
When it’s roasting outside, if I could fit into the fridge, believe me I would! However, the next best thing is refrigerating everything you put into your body and a lot of the things you put on to it too. Keep your food and drink in the fridge and out of the sun to ensure they are at their most refreshing when you consume them. However, don’t just stop there. A great trick for the hot weather is to pop your sunscreen and aftersun in the fridge too. The cold creams really help to cool down hot, prickly skin.


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2. Keep it loose and lovely
Tight clothing in the heat is a big no-no! As your body swells and throbs in the heat, the clothing will increasingly dig into your skin, causing discomfort and potential rashes. Roomy clothing is the best way to go. It allows your body to breathe and will turn you into a laid-back summer goddess. Don’t worry about loose items drowning your body or looking unflattering. There are so many glamorous choices, for example, floaty kaftans, light maxi dresses and linen trousers. And, for my Muslim friends, there are great Muslim clothing stores that offer modern and flattering, yet modest styles. Don’t forget to consider your jewellery too. Swollen fingers and tight rings are so uncomfortable! If your jewellery is tight at the best of times, it’s probably best not to wear it in the heat.


3. Mist your skin
One of the most effective ways I’ve found of looking and feeling cool in the heat is by misting my skin regularly with cool water. You can actually buy products, like the Evian Brumisateur spray, which are specially designed for this purpose. However, you can also just fill a spray bottle with cold water. Store this in the fridge (or give it a quick blast in the freezer) for maximum refreshment.


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4. Go natural  
Summer is one of the only times that most of us feel comfortable going natural with our hair and makeup. Avoid applying too much makeup, especially foundation, as it can become blotchy and smeared in the heat and when you use your sunscreen. Instead, look for a good quality light face cream that has a high SPF (and a tint if you want). Apply a little touch of mascara and gloss if you want, but allow your natural beauty and glow to take the lead.


Thanks for reading. Having a cool summer!