Thursday, 30 April 2015

Yggdrasil by Sweden Gold & Steel Necklace // Jewel Street | Fashion

You may have spied the other day on my first OOTD for this year, this gorgeous Yggdrasil by Sweden necklace. I decided to do a separate blog post on this gorgeous necklace so you could see the intricate detailing that has gone into the making of it.

I love my necklaces and statement pieces, especially ones that I can wear under shirt collars, so this piece was ideal to fit the purpose.

The Yggdrasil by Sweden necklace made with both gold-plated steel and steel which makes it incredibly versatile in your wardrobe, we also know I'm a fan of chevrons and geometric shapes so v-shaped detailing is an absolute added gem. It measures 17" so be aware if you have a thicker neck, it may fit more like a choker. The beautiful tree emblem on the end of the chain adds a beautiful finishing touch. You can pick this necklace up here for £46.99*. They also have matching earrings which I'll be buying in the future to finish off my look.

I chose the necklace from Jewel Street, a website I have only recently come across but now adore. They have jewellery from 300 unique and talented designers, all under one roof so to speak, so you don't need to search the internet high and low to find something suited for your needs. I must admit it honestly took me hours to find the necklace I wanted, there are so many pieces that suit my style I couldn't narrow it down to one. I didn't even broach the subject of bracelets or earrings!

From ordering the necklace to arriving, I had smooth customer service and the necklace arrived quite quickly. Please bear in mind that they come direct from the seller and now from Jewel Street themselves so if you're buying from an intentional seller, like I did, it may take a little longer.
*Product provided for review by Jewel Street, all opinions are my own. 

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Chroma Stationery #NationalStationeryWeek | Lifestyle

As you all know (and if not, then why not?!) it's National Stationery Week this week, and we all know I love a bit of stationery. In anticipation of this week I've been buying a few new bits and pieces, okay well read that as a lot of new bits and pieces. It doesn't help that I have a planner addiction and there's a fantastic group on Facebook (Planner Dreams UK) who are very much enablers with all things stationery.

Chroma Stationery are all over the blogosphere at the moment with their awesome personalised embossed notebooks. I haven't quite seen anything of this quality before, so I just knew I had to buy a notebook. I decided on having my blog logo embossed on the front, and after a quick email to the fabulous folks over at Chroma Stationery they were able to replicate this on a notebook of my choice. YAY!

I adore how personal the Chroma Stationery website it, each colour of notebook is personalised to a friend or family member of the founder. I had to pick 'Daniel', a beautiful green-based turquoise colour. I choose a grid notebook from the Ryton spiral bound range too, I just prefer to be able to easily access the pages on my notebook, and I absolutely hate it when notebooks get messy when pages are turned. As I opted for gold embossing on my notebook, the spiral is too gold. I really like this as everything ties in really nicely, and looks extremely professional.

The notebook, with embossing should I add, cost me £8.50. In some stores you can't even buy a notebook for that price, so you may say I'm extremely delighted with the product! I've even decided to buy a further three for my next University module in October, and have them personalised with the unit details, I'm that much of a geek. I honestly couldn't be happier with the product, the quality, the customer service, the price and how fast it arrived. They definitely have a customer for life!

What to do with an old diary | Lifestyle & DIY

I'm using up my old Frankie Magazine diary, ok well when I say old, I just mean a diary I've become fed up of even though it's still for 2015. I'm a stationery hoarder and I absolutely love planners. When the OCD side of me hits in, generally because I've made a mistake on a page, got a date wrong or perhaps entered incorrect information, I rip out the page and start again. Except with a diary you can't, and anyway it bugs me so I have to have a personal organiser. I'm loving my new Saffiano from Filofax at the moment, it's delicious; oh and at least if I rip a page out I can always re-print a new diary sheet, phew.

So what can you do with old diaries? Especially the cute ones with geometric and floral prints? Well, I decided to cut mine up, make a couple of note pages for my University work and several other things. I cut up a page of stickers so I can use them more freely, along with larger pieces of paper to use as note tabs or inserts in my Filofax.

Those are just a couple of ideas, the list is endless; and I haven't even searched Pinterest for these ideas! Imagine the possibilities if I had?!

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

My Summer 2015 Bucket List | Lifestyle

Making a bucket list is a great idea... if you actually intend to complete it! I find that writing a bucket list that’s meant to apply to my whole life is pretty difficult to create, and even trickier to get through. As we get older, our priorities change and, therefore, certain goals on our list may no longer be relevant to us. That’s why I think it’s more rewarding to create bite-sized bucket lists that reflect the things you want to achieve right now. I have just completed my summer 2015 bucket list. Because we tend to have more free time over summer, and because the weather makes us so happy and energetic, I think it’s the perfect time to complete some of your goals. If you are also thinking of creating a mini bucket list, here are some of the experiences I want to have this summer that I hope will inspire you.

Visit somewhere completely new to me
Each summer I tend to go to the same destinations each year. For good reason though; they are always totally awesome! As well as my usual haunts, I also want to experience and explore somewhere totally new to me, on my own. Traveling to different parts of the world is good for the soul, it enriches your life, providing you with more stories to tell the grandkids and it’s just a lot of fun! I’m not sure where I will go yet, but even if I don’t have the time or money to go abroad, there are loads of beautiful places in the UK that I’m desperate to discover.

Do something exhilarating
A bucket list, whether epic or bite-sized, simply wouldn’t be complete without something thrilling included. An experience that will really get you out of your comfort zone. One of my close friends told me about a great helicopter experience she did recently. It sounds absolutely incredible! And because I’m a little nervous of flying, I think it will be that exhilarating experience I am looking for. I hope it will increase my confidence and give me a great sense of accomplishment.
Learn a new skill
This is another bucket list classic. When I hear about a friend’s hobby, I always think I’d love to try it out. But seldom does it happen. So this summer I’m determined to tackle an item on another list of mine; the “hobby list”. Because this summer bucket list is supposed to be achievable, I’m not going for anything too complicated like learning a new language. In the end, I’ve gone for yoga. There is a summer course at my gym which I have signed up for. I always read about the amazing benefits that this form of exercise has on your body and mind, and I’m finally looking forward to experiencing them. 

These have been a few of the items on my summer 2015 bucket list. I hope you have enjoyed reading this post and that it has inspired you to create your own list. Have a super summer!

Thursday, 23 April 2015

(2015 OOTD #1) | Fashion

I don't think I've done any outfit posts this year (except maybe a couple that were around Christmas/New Year) but now it's finally the weather for me to get out there and look fabulous again, I thought I would start documenting my outfits.

After browsing last night's #WeAreThey hashtag it really got me thinking, I am still self conscious about my body. I am the largest I have been all my life, I have a saggy belly after having a baby, and I am also the happiest I have ever been. All the ladies last night have given me that inspiration to think "you know what? I'm happy with my body, it's certainly your problem if you aren't". So that inspired me to do something I've never done before at this size, wear high waisted jeans with a midriff top. And I rock it.

I've had this Cut for Evans top for blooming ages and I don't really wear it. I think I've only worn it once, and have been stuck at a loose end on how to style it. I popped it on this morning and tried tucking it in, wearing it out, and it just looked wrong. Then I thought, lets tie it and wear 3/4 sleeves. And you know what, it's perfect. It's me.

Obviously I have to team it with the world's best jeggings ever, the Eden range from Dorothy Perkins. I'm wearing a size 20 and they are always the most comfortable things ever. I think I own like four or five pairs now but they are bliss. I struggle with jeans as I really am a pear shape and it irritates me somewhat, so these fabulous jeggings have become my wardrobe staple.

I teamed the whole look up with my new necklace from Yggdrasil via JewelStreet but there will be blog post on the necklace later.
Cut for Evans shirt (old) | High waisted Eden jeggings from Dorothy Perkins £17.60 | Dainty Converse Ox Sneakers (really old) | Yggdrasil gold and steel necklace via JewelStreet £46.99*

*This post contains product sample(s), opinions are my own. 

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Adventurous Holiday Destinations to visit with a Toddler | Travel & Motherhood Diary

It probably won't come as much of a shock that I love travelling, and that won't dwindle even with a toddler. I want him to travel with us wherever we go, and I also want him to have fun in the process. There are lots of holidays out there tailored for families however, we like something a little different, something alternative to what is being offered. I've had a good think of places we could travel as adults, see the sights and enjoy ourselves, but offer fun things for a toddler to do. I decided to narrow my list down to three ideas, and I know they are (almost) all Far East but that's really what my family enjoy.
Here is what I've come up with
Shanghai Disneyland
I'm not a massive Disney fan or have really ever been interested in visiting Disneyland/world however, since discovering they were building one in Shanghai I've been counting down the months until we can visit. The resort is due to open next Spring/Summer but boasts to have the largest castle, a treasure cove landscape theme, and will incorporate all things Western and Chinese giving you the best of both worlds. They also say they will offer the futuristic of technologies, and well being in China, what more can you expect? This is one on my radar for when we visit family next year, and I am really excited!

Chengdu Panda Base, China
Yes I know it's another Chinese trip however, there are some things in your lifetime that you should just do. Visiting a Panda zoo has always been on my bucket list, and who can resist these cute (not so) little critters right? Dexter absolutely adores them and gets super excited when he sees them on TV, or he plays with his panda toys, or reads a book. Lets just say he's panda mad. Oh and they are the national animal of China so it's kinda his heritage too. Chengdu, where the pandas originate from, have a couple of panda zoos, but one of the biggest is the Chengdu Research Base where they offer park tours to see pandas, and other creatures in their zoo; as well as an educational facility to explain about pandas in their natural habitat, etc. It's a huge park and such a bargain to visit for around £5.80 a ticket, much less than it costs to visit zoos within the UK. I am so lucky to say I have seen pandas in a zoo in Jinan, but I don't think it would come anywhere close to seeing them in natural habitats like these.

Siam Park, Tenerife
And last but certainly by no means least, Siam Park. Now I know this doesn't necessarily fit in with my 'Far Eastern' theme however, after seen Ice Lolly's blog post on the best water slides in the world, I had to add it to my list. Siam Park in Tenerife is close, and what better than not having to get a long haul flight to experience a trip to the Far East. It's theme is Thailand, and having a fondness of Thailand and delightful memories of travelling in Thailand, I had to stick this on my list. It has one of the biggest water slides, and plenty of attractions within the park itself, including a reconstructed typical floating market where you can have a Thai massage. Yes Please. It definitely has something for everybody even if you aren't interested in the water park side of it. I don't know anyone who couldn't resist visiting here, it's definitely one I've added to my bucket list, ahem I mean Dexter's travelling bucket list...

Wish List Wednesday: Alice McCall | Fashion

It's been a while since I've written a 'wish list Wednesday' post that has actually been posted on Wednesday, but after browsing the new collection from Alice McCall over on Avenue 32, I simply had to post a few of the outfits I'm currently coveting. You will all know how fond I am of a good print, and along with cute scalloped edge, her looks are quirky with a vintage vibe. The pastel and nautical/Parisienne themes are bang on trend for the Spring/Summer season approaching, so you can't go wrong with the pieces in this collection.
Here are my favourite outfit matches. 
1. White Ball Boy cropped shirt teamed with the Indigo Denim Straight Set shorts - This outfit is perfect for a casual lunch or day out. The shorts look incredibly comfortable, and you can't go wrong with a high collar fastened shirt and a pair of collar clips.

2. Pink Lips She Has Funny Cars skirt teamed with the matching print Lips Pink Celestine cropped top - this has to be my favourite outfit by far. I am in love with the scalloped edge on the high waisted skirt, and it looks simply divined teamed up with the matching crop top. This co-ord set gets my approval.

3. Nautical Blue Surreal skirt teamed with it's matching Nautical Blue Eyes Wide Shut top - yet again a beautiful set of co-ords. This, yet again, being a simple casual daytime outfit for lunch or shopping. The slit in the front of the skirt adds a bit of sexiness by showing a simple flash of the thigh, but I think the showstopper to the outfit is the scalloped edging and detailing to the top. Simple but very elegant.

So which of the three is your favourite outfit? I definitely recommend you head over to Avenue 32 and check out her collection, you may feel inspired to leave the Winter clothes behind, finally!

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Getting Green in the Garden | Lifestyle

Now that summer is just around the corner it’s a great time to tear away the little ones from their televisions and iPads, and help them to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors. The garden may have been neglected for a few months but now it can become the perfect paradise for fun and play. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never planted a flower in your life, but learning with the littles ones is a great way to get started. Encouraging the children to become mini gardeners can teach them so much about wildlife and healthy living, so follow these tips to get started.
Make Little Allotment
Handing over a little plot of land for the children to take responsibility of, is a great way to make them feel that the garden is just as much their space as it is the adults. Pop on their wellies boots and let them get muddy by preparing soil for the plants. Messy play is something that any age children can take part in, and they’ll love the excuse to get muddy.

When it comes down to what they’re going to grow, take them along to the local garden centre so that they can pick out their favourite flowers. Alternatively if you’re a little confused about how well the flowers are going to last, choose some fruit and vegetable seeds such as these, as they are often the simplest to grow and can make eating healthy much easier. They’ll love pulling out the carrots and seeing them go from ground to plate. 

Create an Explorer
The garden is full of hidden natural wonders that can teach the children so much about the outside world and the wildlife that it holds. If your little one isn’t keen on gardening, then creating games to get them explore can peak their interest in spending more time outside. From searching out lady birds and caterpillars, to collecting leaves and making daisy chains. There is lots you can do to help them interact with nature.  

Discover the fun
As well as making the garden a more adventurous place there is a number of gardening activities that you can do such as these, that will keep your children entertained on long summer days. However if the weather does take a turn for the worst you can continue their curiosity inside and create a small Terrarium for their bedroom. Making them responsible for looking after the plants and flowers in the house can also give them a sense of pride, and be a great test if they’ve been pestering you for a pet.
If they’ve been doing a good job of gardening and helping you out around the house, treating them to tools for the garden can encourage them to continue their gardening journey. Besides there is simply nothing more adorable than a child that loves to play in the garden.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Pen Heaven competition: My workstation photo entry | Lifestyle

A few months back I treated myself to a desk. Now I know this isn't a 'proper' treat but when it comes to organisation, blogging and University work I felt now was the time to sit properly at a desk, and have everything around me that I needed. Since having Dexter I've found it hard to really get back into being organised and having stability for work time however, now he sleeps from 7pm and has two solid hour naps a day, I'm able to sit at my desk and work.

I have my laptop in the middle, usually this is the divider as I have my blogging work on one side and University work on the other. This means that I can keep everything separated, organised and can find things quickly when I need to. My desk also operates as my craft workstation too so I have to make sure I have everything I need around me at all times. Although my workstation is messy, it's organised chaos to me. I like everything bright and kept in it's place too. Also, I like to have inspirational quotes and artwork on the walls to brighten up my workstation too.

For blogging, I like to keep everything in a personal organiser. At the moment I have three Filofax personal organiser. I know that may seem a little strange however, one is to keep all my personal diary dates in and is small enough to fit into my handbag, the 'personal' sized organiser is where I keep all my blog information such as contacts, sponsors, blog income, etc, and the last being my A5 organiser which I use for University which keeps all my notes, reading lists, library information, course content, etc.

For all my blogging notes and ideas, I like to keep these handy in a notebook as there is plenty more space to write. The fabulous folks over at Pen Heaven sent me this beautiful gold notebook embossed with my name, and a matching pen for my collection. There is plenty of room to write my ideas down in my notebook, and it's the perfect size to carry around with me should I have any ideas on the go.

I'd love to know what your blogging workstation looks like, and so would Pen Heaven. They are currently running a competition to see blogger's workstations, and you can enter too. The details are here. You'll see plenty more stationery blog posts over the next coming weeks in the run up to National Stationery Week at the end of the month.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Latest in Beauty - The Glamour Spring Edit box | Beauty

I honestly don't remember ordering this box, but it arrived at the same time as the LIB Capital FM beauty box I reviewed the other day. This is a much larger box, with more products contained within however, it was only a couple of quid more at £16.99 including delivery.

Yet again they've won me over with the contents, and I can definitely see me using them all, so I'm over the moon with another fabulous purchases from Latest in Beauty. It seems they can't do wrong at the moment!

This collaboration box is with Glamour magazine, and came with a voucher code for a subscription to the magazine. This included 12 print issues and 12 iPad and iPhone issues too, along with an entry to win a goody bag over £500. I really like this idea, I don't often subscribe to magazines or read them in print so to be given this for free was a nice added extra. They also included a voucher code printout too for Glamour readers, offering discounts on the product brands contained within. I'm looking forward to 15% off Kiko as I love their stuff!
What's in the box?
Nuxe Creme Fraiche 24hr Soothing and Rehydrating face mask: it's nice to receive a full size of this product as I think it will work perfectly on my skin. I have oily but dehydrated skin so I'm hoping this will work. The tip is to apply for ten minutes once a week for the best results.

Moroccan Oil Intense Hydrating Mask: another full sized product, very nice. This is ideal for hydrating my over-processed and dye damaged hair so I'm looking forward to giving this a try. I suppose it's meant for longer hair as the instructions suggest mid-long length hair however, I'm sure it will work a dream (and last longer!) on my hair.

Revlon ColorStay Gel Envy Nail Enamel and Diamond Top Coat: I do love receiving nail polishes and decent top coats however, it says it's long-lasting and well, long-lasting for me would be an hour. I'm hoping this gives a gel-style finish and lives up to it's claims. I received the nail polish in shade full house.

BeautyUK High Brow All In One Brow Definition Kit: I really like this nifty little kit. Personally I think it's ideal for me as with ever colour changing hair, it's nice to have a kit with several shades for my eyebrows. I think I'll get a lot of use from this kit too. I don't pluck my eyebrows, but it's always handy to have a pair of tweezers around just in case.

Rimmel Oh My Gloss! Lipgloss: I received shade twinkle twinkle which is a glittery pink colour and not really to my taste however, it might look a lot more natural on so I'll definitely give it a go. I'm not fond of shiny, sticky lip glosses either so I'm not sure what to expect!

Kiko Long Lasting Stick Eyeshadow: I received this in shade 06 which is a beautiful bronze colour. I do have one very similar to this that I picked up from the Tony Moly store in Jinan but I think it'll be great to add to my collection. I don't often wear eyeshadows so something quick and easy like this stick that I can just run along my lid would be perfect. I've even seen it worn in replacement of eyeliner so we shall see how this looks.

ModelCo Creme Rouge Cheek and Lips: It states on the card that the shade is just peachy so I'm presuming everyone received the same shade of this. I absolutely adore two in one products and I think they made the perfect make up bag staples especially when travelling and going on holiday. I haven't swatched this product yet however, it looks fairly bright and pigmented in the pot so I'm a bit weary about how much I apply, I think less is more when it comes to products like this.

Elie Saab L'Eau Couture: This is a sample sized perfume, but I love receiving these and they are perfect for going on holiday or popping in your handbag. I have a good stash of these already and it's nice to change up fragrances every now and then rather than sticking to my trusty YSL Black Opium or Marc Jacobs Daisy and Lola.

Yet again this is such a super collaboration box from Latest in Beauty, the contents alone are worth £99 so a bargain at £16.99, all products that I will use, and I love the added extra of the magazine subscription too. Well done Latest in Beauty, I look forward to receiving many more of your beautiful boxes in future.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Party Preparation Advice You Shouldn't Ignore | Lifestyle

I don’t know about you, but I am loving this warm weather! It’s got me thinking a little about fun things to look forward to; mainly parties! I love a fun party, and I’m sure you do too. Preparing a party can be a hassle, but it’s always so worth it once your guests have arrived and you’re having a blast. I just want you to know that you’re not alone; no one likes party planning as much as the actual partying. This advice will help to see you through the planning stages so you can let your hair down when the time comes:

Come Up With a Definite Guest List
Every party needs a definite guest list. When you have your numbers, you can plan things much better. You’ll know how much food you need, booze, and the size of the venue required. Who will enhance the party atmosphere and make things even better? Add them to your list! Bear in mind that the bigger your list, the more expensive your party.

Make Your Invitations
Invitations will give everybody the opportunity to get the time off if they need it, and add the date to their calendar. I love making things like this as it adds that personal, quirky touch. If you’re short on time you can always just buy them - especially if you’re inviting a lot of people.

Think of a Fun Theme
Parties don’t have to have a theme, but they can be so much better with one! You’ll have something to base your outfits and decorations around. You could get really creative and have it based around your favourite program, band, or something similar. Having a theme makes it all so much more exciting, in my opinion!

Find the Perfect Venue
The venue is the backdrop to your party. The perfect venue will look great, help to set the scene, and will enable your guests to have a fantastic time. Make sure you read the rules of the venue so you know what will be expected of everybody once they’ve arrived. You’ll need to think of your venue hire as far in advance as possible to make sure you get the place of your choice. You could always have it at home if you’re more into house parties!

Look for Entertainment
All parties need a little entertainment. You might want to set up DJs, playlists, games, or photobooths. You could even have an artist on hand to paint people’s faces! It all depends on the occasion and your party style.
(image source)

Design a Simple Menu
Your guests will more than likely expect to be fed, so design a simple menu to avoid too much hassle. If you don’t mind spending chunk of money, you could order pizza in! Pizza is always appreciated and won’t be of any hassle to you.

Consider Purchasing Booze for Your Guests
Free booze goes a long way and people will remember your party if you create a fun Pimms cocktail, for instance. People are simple creatures; feed and water them and they’ll usually be happy.

Of course, you might want to alter this advice depending on the occasion. You might have a birthday, wedding, or anniversary to plan. Just use this advice as a loose guide to ensure everybody has the best time...including you!

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

#CoeliacAwarenessWeek with Kirsty's | Lifestyle

I would like to point out before I write this post that I am not a coeliac however, I do have a dairy intolerance (that I like to ignore and most definitely shouldn't!) but everything IBS/stomach/bowel related troubles generally come under the same umbrella, and I know a lot of people with gluten intolerances and who are coeliac themselves. It's Coeliac Awareness week the 14th-17th May, so I'm showing you a couple of meals that would be suitable, and raising awareness too.

I've been trying out a couple of Kirsty's meals this week. All Kirsty's meals are gluten and dairy free and some are suitable for vegans and vegetarians too. This week I've tried the Moroccan vegetables with quinoa, chicken tikka masala with brown basmati rice, and Spanish chicken with brown rice. All I must say have been absolutely delicious, all with a kick and plenty of flavour. I'm not big for spicy food but I love flavour so these hit the spot, the right amount of heat and spice to make them delicious.
The Moroccan vegetables with quinoa contains aduki beans, courgette, pinto beans, apricots, peppers, carrot, chickpeas, and sweet potato in a Moroccan Tagine style sauce with mild spices, and served with mint and coriander. This comes with quinoa, brown rice, and puy lentils. I really enjoyed the side accompaniment dish to this meal, I'd definitely try making it at home too.
Chicken tikka masala and brown basmati rice contains marinated chicken breast and peppers in a medium spiced tomato and coconut tikka masala sauce. Served with brown basmati rice. This was definitely the favourite of my dishes, I do love a good curry.
The Spanish chicken with brown rice contained chicken thigh marinated in coriander, smoked paprika, and cayenne pepper cooked in a Spanish style tomato, pepper and smoked paprika sauce. Served with a vegetable brown rice. I absolutely loved the smokiness to this dish, it wasn't something I've experienced much before but would definitely give Spanish cuisine a second look from now on.

*This blog post contains product sample(s) however, opinions are my own.

Spring Wish List inspired by Pretty Little Liars | Fashion

I still haven't got over the fact that I've watched all five seasons of Pretty Little Liars in a week, and lets be honest, there is a big Aria-shaped hole in my heart at the moment. That girl can do no wrong in my book, and she's my woman crush. Her styling in Pretty Little Liars was spot on, and I adore every single outfit she wore more than any other the other characters, oh except Hannah towards the latter seasons when she had the whole grungy thing going on.

So I thought I would do a little spring wish list inspired by Pretty Little Liars, mainly Aria's style, but I'm sure there will be a few picks from the other characters too, especially Spencer's preppy look; and the best of it all is that these are in stores now if you fancy recreating your look.
1. George cut-out shoulder dress (£10) and ASOS YRU Xena rose gold strappy western ankle boots (£22 in the sale). This outfit is inspired by Aria. In one episode she was wearing a super cute pleather cut-out shoulder skater dress and I adored it, this casual one from George will work timelessly in your wardrobe over the seasons so it's a bargain investment at a tenner. One thing I've noticed is they always seem to be wearing boots and I'm not sure why, as it looks super hot all the time however, these YRU rose gold boots are to die for, and I have bought them - who couldn't resist them at £22 down from £52?

2. George candy stripe shirt (£10) and HM knee length skirt in navy (24.99). I have a bit of a thing lately for high waisted midi skirts tucked into crisp shirts, and I think this outfit is perfect. It's Spencer inspired, and would look super cute with a pair of tan pumps and a match leather saddle bag. I did buy this skirt for H&M hoping it would fit, and although it did fit ok, I had found a much better alternative that I simply adore from ASOS here. However, I think this skirt looks better with the shirt.

3. Dorothy Perkins black lace kimono (£15) and New Look grey fine knit side split bodycon dress (£17.99). I'm channelling my inner Hannah here with this combination. If you're not a fan of colour then this is an ideal spring outfit. I bought this kimono a few weeks back and although it hasn't been the weather yet to properly wear it, I can't imagine not having it on! It fits perfectly. Teamed up with the grey bodycon dress is a bold Hannah move, and I think a pair of chunky cut-out boots would match this outfit perfectly.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Helping your children sleep better, really. | Lifestyle & My Motherhood Diary

It's no surprise that now the clocks have changed and mornings are lighter, your little one's body clocks are running on incredibly earlier morning wake up calls; and it's only going to get worse as we approach summertime. I for one, being used to twelve hour nights with Dexter, normally from 7:30pm until 7:30 am, will not be looking forward to 4:30am wake up calls when the birds start tweeting and the sun is dawning. 

So what can you do to alleviate this problem? Well I've read plenty of tips online that say putting your child to be later would be advisable, but considering toddlers do still need around fourteen hours of sleep per day, and if I'm lucky during the day Dexter naps for perhaps half an hour, I need a much better evening alternative. 

That's where I've discovered blackout blinds. Last year I did have one of the stick-on blackout blinds and I found this incredibly hopeless as it didn't fit the window properly, the sticky cups constantly fell off, and it really annoyed me that I had to peel the remainder off on a daily basis. This year however, is a different story, and I very much intend to purchase a proper blackout roller blind to fit to the window. 

I've been having a look online at the Itzala  range of blackout blinds from VELUX, and these are ideal for this purpose. They fit to the inside of your window completely covering every inch and leaving no visible gaps. They also come in three colours meaning that your 'blackout blind' doesn't necessarily have to be black; this really appeals to me as I would prefer the lighter shade, either the cream or blue, so it doesn't darken the room too much but leaving the same effect. 

Their prices start from £38.39 so are very reasonably priced too. 

And guess what? Your little ones will have a super night's sleep, the morning sun won't awaken them, and you too will get your (sort of) lie-in in the mornings, something I am really looking forward to! 

Sunday, 12 April 2015

How does your indoor garden grow? #BulbsforBulbs | Lifestyle & DIY

I've grown many plants all in various conditions. I'm lucky to be back living in a house with a garden which means I can take advantage of growing outdoors, although equally I've lived in an apartment and only been able to grow herbs in the windows; either works well for me, as long as I can get my green fingers working. Although having a garden isn't always the best because obviously there are certain conditions, such as winter and dreaded frost, meaning that you can't always get the results you want. I've planted several types of herbs in the garden over the past week, and planted my indoor grown spinach too; although if the frost hits then we are a bit stumped and will have to start all over again.

Lightbulbs Direct are currently running a Twitter competition to find the best indoor garden, and if you enter you can win a hamper! Unfortunately my indoor garden is now outside as the great weather has allowed me to plant everything outside, but I'll be starting up again with my new LED light and strawberries and herbs.

There are so many good tips for growing indoors, the main one being a viable light source and the distance of the light source from the plants/herbs. Growing plants with LED lights are ideal, they mimic natural conditions of outdoor sources of light, and with the plants being indoors have great conditions to thrive before being planting outside. I have sorted out a corner in the kitchen to start growing my seeds, I always use the kitchen as it has the best humidity; now I have an LED light I can place them in a different corner of the kitchen rather than placing them in the window. I always ensure I have a tray under biodegradable pots as well catching the water and keeping the soil moist at all times. The pots are ideal for transferring into the garden as they will also fertilise the soil when planted outside. Make sure you water your seeds or bulbs according to the packaging, you don't want to under-water or flood them! As long as you follow a couple of steps and read the packaging to make sure you are happy with the instructions, you can germinate your seeds and grow bulbs very easily indoors!

And what else is ideal? Make sure you have a good pair of gardening gloves and hand cream to protect your hands. They will get messy and you will end up washing them an awful lot!

Saturday, 11 April 2015

My Life This Week | Lifestyle

My life this week has been very hectic. I still have a very dodgy back but it seems to be getting a lot better and that's one thing I feel much happier with. The weather has been amazing so I've been taking advantage of that, sitting in the garden and playing with Dexter, attempting to be green-fingered and getting my DIY on.

However, it hasn't all been plain sailing, Dexter ended up in hospital for a couple of days with a raging temperature which everyone was extremely concerned about. After tests and having a very upset and anxious baby (I've never seen him like that before and it was terrifying) they ruled that he had a viral infection. Luckily his temperature went as soon as it came on and we were finally allowed home. He's still a bit off it now but doing much better.  We were treated extremely poorly in A&E, having to wait over three hours to be assessed, and only being seen because I'd stripped him down to his nappy when he was boiling and bright red, and rushing him into one of the rooms myself to be seen; even though I'd advised reception three times that he needed urgent attention. I'm not sure what happened there, I understand the NHS is under extreme stress as I used to work there myself however, seeing an older child (perhaps 10) with a twisted ankle before a baby with an extremely high temperature is not on in my book. The children's ward completely agreed with me on this point so there will be a formal complaint. Anyway, we are all good now, home safe and sound and he's on the mend which is the main point.
So this week I've started to read The Great Zoo of China by Matthew Reilly. He is my favourite author and I'm happy to say I own every book he's written. His books are fast paced, full of action and thrill, and remind me a lot of Indiana Jones. This book is themed around dragons, mythology and advancement; I'm already halfway though and anticipate I'll be done within the next couple of days! Normally once I receive his latest book I sit down until I finish it however, with a small person that makes it a little bit difficult.
Now I've finished Pretty Little Liars and it's left a huge hole in my heart, I needed to fill it with something else. Countless times have I attempted to was Gossip Girl and failed because although there is something about it that makes it pretty good, the same can be same that makes it pretty bad. This time however, it's acting as a 'treat' for studying, and the fact each episode is around 40 minutes means I can achieve quite a bit of reading and watching within one night.
The weather has been fabulous in West Yorkshire this week (apart from today but we shall ignore that) so we've been eating al fresco. BBQ's are a big must for my family and we would probably have one every day if we could. My dad's birthday was last month so we bought him a new BBQ and he loves it, so as you may have guessed we've been taking advantage of it and have had a couple this week.
One of my favourite drinks is lemon and ginger tea. There is no actual tea involved however, it's simply either chunks or grated ginger, sliced lemon and hot water. I sometimes add a little honey for sweetness but that's all it takes. It's a quick and easy detox drink that you can keep filling up during the day, is great for if you're feeling a little off and need something with antibacterial properties as a pick me up, and it's popular in China.

Friday, 10 April 2015

Latest in Beauty - Capital FM box | Beauty

I've decided to sign back up to beauty subscription boxes, well the Latest in Beauty box in question. I always seem to come back to their boxes as I like the quality, the range of products, and the prices are pretty decent too.

The latest box I received is the Capital FM box. The idea behind this box is that it contains products 'that stars just can't live without'. I'm not too sure about their quote however, the contents are really interesting and I would definitely get use out of all of them, except the temporary tattoos maybe.
What's in the box?
Stila smudge stick waterproof eyeliner in shade black amethyst: I love the look of this product although I haven't used it quite yet, I'm hoping it has good application and lives up to it's word.

Rimmel London Rita Ora nail polish in shade Glastonberry: such a gorgeous shade, definitely one of my spring favourites.

Collection Eyes Uncovered nude eyeshadow palette: there are some amazing neutral and nude shades in this palette and although I don't often wear eyeshadow I think I will start doing. I'm hoping it will encourage to go back to my favourite smokey eye.

Collection Lengthening Mascara in shade ultra black: the wand is long, sleek and thin and has short rubber bristles, I know this will be a fond favourite of mine as it's very similar to the Oriflame mascara I currently use.

Pixi Lip Blush in shade Energy: both a lip and cheek stain in a stunning coral colour (my favourite!). I can definitely see my using this a lot when I like to wear minimal make up. It's ideal to take on holiday as it's one product covering two bases.

Burt's Bees Lip Shimmer in shade grapefruit: I love, love, love, the Burt's Bees lip shimmers and already have several. I'm so lucky this isn't one of the shades I own and so glad to add it to my collection. It has a very subtle lip colour and shimmer, but all the nourishing benefits of the lip balm.

Nail buffer: I already have one of these nail buffers and rate them really highly. I think I picked mine up from Poundland but it's brilliant. I have used it that often that the file side has run out so it's the perfect replacement.

StyLondon temporary tattoos: I'm not very keen on these to be honest, and I wouldn't personally wear them as they aren't my style. Although I can see that for festival chic they would look perfect. Just not me unfortunately.

Jimmy Choo Flash: I really like perfume samples, just the occasional one every now and then is nice. They are the ideal size to take on holiday too so I'll be popping this in my make up bag when I go away in a couple of weeks. It's a floral based fragrance so I know I'll adore it however, the packaging states that it evokes the 'high octane atmosphere of going out' so I'm not sure how keen I am on that aspect!

I'm really pleased with this box, for £14.95 I think they've done well; especially a box full of products that I will actually use which is an absolutely rarity for a beauty box.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Byron Burgers (York) | Lifestyle & Travel

I've been dying to try out Byron since it opened in Leeds, but have always ended missing occasions to go, so when I stumbled across them in York I just had to go in and experience their awesomeness.

We visiting on Mother's Day evening so it was really quiet, which was perfect as we had a very moody toddler with us who needing cheering up! By the way, their child's menu is fantastic and doubles as a colouring pad; we proudly have this on Dexter's bedroom wall now!

So as you may have guessed, they serve burgers. Just the way I like them, juicy and medium rare. The perfect combination. Both my mum and I chose the Byron burger, and Dexter had the Mac and Cheese which he wolfed down. I ate Dexter's fries, and my mum had a portion of their homemade skin-on chips. As Dexter has a child's meal, his came with a desert of a warm brownie and squirty cream but of course the portion was a little too big for him and I had to help him finish it. 

Their shakes are absolutely divine and those of you who personally know me know I would go for anything Oreo cookie related every time. The shake was more of a desert and extremely filling! 

I'll definitely be going back, probably not to the York restaurant but definitely heading into Leeds! Let's just say we all left with full bellies and were extremely happy!