Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Wish List Wednesday (well, Tuesday!)

Wish List Wednesday (well, Tuesday!)

Okay so I may have just bought this t-shirt as soon as I saw it, damn you George at Asda, damn you and your amazingly gorgeous G21 collection, specifically the graduate talent collection. But you will always have my heart.

Say hello to my massimo April advertiser, Wardrobe Conversations!

Neäl & Wølf | Scented candle.

I love scented candles, especially large ones that come in gorgeous jars too. When I saw Neäl & Wølf looking for bloggers to review their candle on Twitter I had to get in there. I'm an avid fan of their gorgeous hair products, but unfortunately now I've shaved my hair off I don't get the benefits anymore, so they are in the drawer of products awaiting my hair to grow back to a decent length, hopefully soon! 

The candle rocked up with Mr Postie last week and I couldn't wait to dive in. I wasn't sure what I would be expecting, definitely not the packaging it came in, it looked just as sleek as their hair products. The candle itself is most definitely indulgent and relaxing, containing my favourite fragrances, mandarin and orange blossom. Now I haven't let the candle burn down quite far enough to experience the fragrances of lily, ylang-ylang and orchid but I'm excited to do so! I love the fact the candle has different scents, it keeps it fresh and lively. 

When the candle is completely used up, the jar will make a fantastic addiction to my storage. I love how in-keeping with their products this candle is. I much prefer this jar compared to some of the other well-known scented candles. I just feel it's a lot more in-keeping with my personal style.

The burn time lasts up to 45 hours too which is pretty awesome as well. I'm looking forward to burning this for many more hours! You can pick up the candle direct from their website for £17.95. Such a good price compared to other scented candles. I would definitely re-purchase this candle when it runs out, it really is indulgent. 
Say hello to my massimo April advertiser, Wardrobe Conversations!

* Product sent for review. 

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Are you 'Baking Mad'? | Giveaway

The awesome people over at Baking Mad have collaborated with Satchels + Pearls for my latest giveaway. There are lots of amazing baking goodies for you to win, all of which you can see blow, and some of which you can see in my latest chocolate orange scones post here.

The website itself is extremely easy to navigate and offers you step by step guides to baking lots of different recipes so there isn't any excuse for you not to get your bake on! There are lots of recipes you could use with your goodies, I'm thinking chocolate browniesstrawberry swirl cupcakes or what about these decorated tea biscuits? But of course the choice is yours! 
This competition is only open to those in the UK, and you must be over 16 or have permission to enter as I will need your address to get your prize sent to you. There are also mandatory entries, but you can see these when entering on Rafflecopter below. 
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Say hello to my massimo April advertiser, Wardrobe Conversations!

* This post is a PR collaboration.

Chocolate Orange Scones

I like to bake, but sometimes I'm not that good at baking. I find it hard to follow recipes and end up throwing what I like in the recipe, and sometimes it doesn't end up quite like it should do. I made some fruit scones the other weekend and they actually turned out really well however, I had only used packet mix. So thought I would have another bash at making another batch, but needed to find a good scone recipe that I would be able to stick to. So I headed off to search the internet for a good baking website when I came across the Baking Mad website.

The Baking Mad website is simple to navigate so you can pick plenty of options for recipes. I choose the scones tab and let it whisk me away with many recipes. I choose the fruit scone recipe as I thought this would be easiest to change the ingredients and substitute with chocolate drops and orange chocolate buttons. The ingredients needed are simple to see, and you can even add these to a shopping list too. There is even a conversion tool if you prefer to work in metric or imperial which I really liked too, being old school and knowing the imperial measurements for a Victoria Sponge off by heart. There are lots of recipes to choose from, and you can even pick by skill level so at least I know I won't find any particularly hard bakes in future haha. I have lots of baking goodies left so I think I might make a gorgeous chocolate cake soon.

My only changes to the scone recipe was to add a little freshly squeezed orange juice, orange peel, dark chocolate drops and orange flavoured chocolate buttons. 

I was really surprised how well my scones actually turned out. I did end up making them a little thinner and smaller so had to adjust the baking times, and when I saw the melted chocolate start to burn I did panic a little, but all worked out well and they tasted delicious! Personally I think these are served straight from the oven when the chocolate is all gooey inside, so yummy!
Say hello to my massimo April advertiser, Wardrobe Conversations!

* This post is a PR collaboration. 

Saturday, 26 April 2014

The Tarn.

I'm really lucky that in Yorkshire we have some beautiful scenic places to visit and go for walks. There is one such place about 15 minutes from my house which has a lovely little lake, lots of ducks, and quite often has boating races too. Simply known as the Tarn, to us locals, is the habitat of lots of wildlife too. Nearby they have acres upon acres of farming fields, many with sheep and cows in, and it's set in one of the most idilic areas in my town. Being up at the Tarn, you wouldn't believe that down the valley there was a roaring trading town. That's the luxury of living in Yorkshire, on the cusp of the Yorkshire Dales. I took Dexter for a lovely walk around, unfortunately I forgot the bread to feed the ducks, so I'm lucky he slept for the duration of the walk too. I had lots of opportunity to take a few nature shots, and here are a few of my favourite ones. I always used to think that the 'upside down boat' was an actual boat when I was younger, but my mum since educated me that it is actually a mould for canoes. You can learn something every day! I have edited these images, but only slightly with a really simply application which just makes them look a little bit more vivid and brighter, and I only shot them with my iPhone 5 too, I forgot to take my 'blogging camera' out with me on this trip. 

Say hello to my massimo April advertiser, Wardrobe Conversations!

Vivid Please! Snail Mail Swap

The fabulous Vicky over at Vivid Please! decided to do an amazing snail mail swap. Now you all know I love pen pals and receive awesome things in the post, so I totally had to snap this batboy up and get on her list straightaway. You could opt for someone within the UK or internationally, so I decided for my snail mail to be sent internationally, to a lady in the USA. As I wanted to post to someone internationally, Vicky matched me with someone in Canada to ship to me. And oh my, hello Michelle, do I absolutely love what I received in my swap. Michelle has read my blog and knows me inside out, and she's a massive fan of Corrie, lady after my own heart. 

She sent me the most heartfelt card, and I must admit I did have a little cry at the contents, which I won't share on here, sorry. 

Michelle is so talented, she's even published her own children's book. Which I was so lucky to receive a copy of for Dexter, I know he'll enjoy reading it with me. And look at the Coach purse! How lucky am I? Perfect size to fit into my nappy changing bag too. I haven't had time to get around to reading the Canadian fashion magazine she sent me as I have a few on the go, but I can't wait to spend some time with that. And I haven't even eaten the Aero yet! So unlike me. 

A big thank you to Vicky, and thank you to Michelle for this amazing gift. I have kept your address to expect a sneaky package in the post hehe. 

Say hello to my massimo April advertiser, Wardrobe Conversations!

Friday, 25 April 2014

Drip drip drop little #AprilShowers

Before I begin this post, my rant about the rain, I would like everyone to be proud that I made a Disney reference. I'm now a true blogger.

I dislike the rain, immensely. Being from England is an absolute nightmare as it never seems to stop raining here. I know I should man up as I've had to put up with it for 28 years, but I never will. I've never known why they say 'April Showers' either, but it is true, the rain is absolutely horrendous in April, and if I can avoid going out in it, boy I sure will. To me it's honestly like being out in acid rain. I wince at the thought of stepping foot out in it. Although I love listening to the sound of rain.
I'm quite a hermit and I would much prefer staying in rather than having a night out anyway, snuggled up with a DVD or a board and lots of popcorn. Being a mother now too, I feel slightly guilty when I have a night out. Plus I'm far too old to be hanging around outside clubs waiting for people to finish their cigarettes so we can go back inside (which happen to be all my friends). And I'm talking to you husband. But with Intellicig's electronic cigarettes all that could be avoided anyway, I don't even need to hang outside anymore for the whole night freezing my bits off and catching a cold, finally my friends can come inside and join me. FINALLY. I fell like I've won on that front. I'm sure all of my friends would be much happier not having to listen to me moan too. However, saying that, I would still much rather stay in my warm, comfortable home. 

So why not join in Intellicig's #AprilShowers campaign and stay in from the horrid (or as I would like to say 'acid') rain? I know I'll be sitting in tonight, and enjoying my popcorn, a game of Catchphrase (oh yes!), and Old Boy on DVD.
 Say a big hello to my massimo April advertiser, Wardrobe Conversations! 

* PR collaboration. 

Head chef.

Ok, well I'm not really a head chef, but I've certainly started paying more attention to food since weaning Dexter. I'm not the healthiest person in the world and I would rather opt for a pizza than cooking, the shame. Since having a look at weaning guides, trying new baby apps, and making my own purée for Dexter I've even been trying new foods for myself. I wouldn't call myself a fussy eater in the slightest, but there are a few foods I don't quite like the look of so have avoided them at all costs. After downloading the Annabel Karmel app yesterday and having a look at some of the baby first food recipes, today I thought I would give avocado and banana a go. To be honest, I don't like the taste and texture of avocado on it's own, but mixed with banana it's absolutely delicious! The banana overpowers the taste of the avocado but you still get all the benefits of the healthy fats in the avocado. I can now see where the fad diet for baby food came from, because if you make your own you end up eating better than you normally would. One portion made from half an avocado and half a banana is enough to fill up one of these Tommee Tippee pots, which is much too much for Dexter, so I think I can finish the rest myself. 

The baby/toddler food blender is from Aldi, and I bought this in the last baby and toddler event a few months back for £8.99, along with the Tommee Tippee pots at 99p for 3 in the current baby and toddler event. 
Say hello to my massimo April advertiser, Wardrobe Conversations!

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Take advantage of a sunny day.

I've been taking advantage of sunny days (when we've had them) and going on plenty of walks locally. I'll pop up a blog post on the gorgeous location I was at for these fashion shots later, but thought I would just show what I wore that day. I've just realised writing this post, that everything apart from the bag is yet again, from George at Asda. I think some people would say I have a slight addiction to their amazing range of clothes. 
Neon leopard print and polka dot dress - George at Asda.
Black leggings - George at Asda. 
Black textured blazer - George at Asda*.
Coral pumps - (you guessed it!) George at Asda.
Tan festival bucket bag - Very.co.uk. 

Say hello to my massimo April advertiser, Wardrobe Conversations!

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Defining my bedroom space.

I'm always on the lookout for products to make my bedroom a little more like a living room too, as it's multi-functioning space. It's my living room, my bedroom, Dexter's bedroom and my office, and it can be so hard defining the space without it being too cluttered or looking too much like a toy shop! It's also my comfort zone, and I can always retreat here when I need to feel safe. 

Last year I bought an old bureau off eBay for around £12, and painted it duck egg blue and white for that shabby chic style. I've always had it closed, hiding all my cute stationary, but since opening it up and having it all on display it's helped me to be able to define that corner of my room into my office space. It's the perfect size for all my bits and pieces, reminders and post-it notes, and it's the perfect size to have my MacBook on too. 
In my efforts to have the perfect comfortable yet functioning bedroom I've slowly been buying more things and taking much more of an interest in interiors too. I bought a day bed last year before I had Dexter as it helped open up my space and works as a sofa too, and when I need a double bed I can just pull the bed out from underneath and hey presto!

We all know how much I love George, and now they have they have an easily accessible home range it's made my life a whole lot easier, I don't feel as guilty buying lots of pieces for their great prizes. I managed to buy the rabbit lamp just before it sold out, but here are a few more of my favourite picks. 

Say a big hello to my massimo April advertisers, Wardrobe Conversations!

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Why I'm not THAT unreliable friend.

I'm often referred to as the unreliable friend, and have been for several years. You know that friend who makes arrangements and cancels them at last minute, and really annoys you? Yeah, that's me, Mrs Unreliable. I've lost many groups of friends over the years because I'm too embarrassed to talk about why I cancel arrangements at short notice, or why I can be a little flaky at times. I would rather make up a millions ridiculous excuses than actually tell the truth, because I'm embarrassed by my mental illness. 

Since blogging I've made loads of amazing friends and have been invited to lots of great events and meet ups, and lately, yeah you guessed it, Mrs Unreliable comes out. I start cancelling. 

I have anxiety and depression and have had so for many years. Recently I've been diagnosed with bipolar disorder which has helped a lot as it makes me understand lots of things I do in my life. I also now have a son, and this makes things a million times worse because not only do I overthink and worry about myself, I do the same for him too. I'm currently on new tablets for my bipolar disorder and they are absolutely killing me. I hate side effects of medication anyway but these are by far the worse I've had. My mood swings are the worst I've ever experienced in my life, and most of the day I just sit on the sofa hardly being able to move. I'm hoping the side effects wear off within the next week or so.

I don't have panic attacks on public transport. In I'm more than happy to toddle off into Leeds on the train, on my own, with Dexter. I have no problems with that. I do however have problems with days leading up to events or meet ups I've arranged to go to. I'll be feeling great and arrange so much stuff that I know I should feel able to do, but a day or a few days before what I've arranged the anxiety hits me. I have a panic attack at home, and the only way to stop the panic attack to to completely withdraw myself from the situation I'm in. That includes cancelling at short notice.

So when you're out and about at a blogger meet up, or I've cancelled lunch on you for the fifth time in a row, I'm not an unreliable friend. I'm the most loyal and reliable friend you could ever have, just sometimes, especially at the moment, things are a little harder to own up to. I think I should be more honest about things now, and say 'hey, I don't feel up to going, I am poorly, and it's my anxiety'. At the end of the day, mental illness is an illness, just because you can't see it doesn't mean it's not there. And sometimes maybe all I want in return is a 'hey, that's ok, don't worry' because that can make someone feel a million times better. 

Say hello to my massimo April advertisers, Wardrobe Conversations!

My favourite home fragrances.

I absolutely adore home fragrances. The smell of fresh linen is so comforting, along with having a scented candle burning in the background. What could be better than relaxing that way? Lately I've really enjoyed home comforts, and I would much prefer to stay at home than go out. I like my peace and quiet, and time to relax with a good DVD and a few scatter cushions. 

The awesome folk over at Air Wick asked if I would like to try a few products from their collections. I often use Air Wick products myself, but these are products I would never have thought about purchasing. Normally I just buy air freshener or the plug ins. Honestly I didn't even know they stocked candles or reed diffusers!

I love the fresh scent of the sapphire and blue cotton reed diffuser from their Home Signature range. I've never owned a reed diffuser before because I wasn't too sure how they worked, or how much fragrance they released. This product is simply amazing. I popped it in my hallway and the whole house smelled amazing. I didn't expect the product to be so fragrant, perhaps only to work in one room, but this definitely hits you when you come in. The rattan stems evenly distribute the fragrance so that it lasts longer, and the beads are full of fragrance too.
I also received one of these amazing colour changing candles too. The fragrance is absolutely divine, in rich caramel and vanilla swirl. The candle doesn't even need to be lit for you to smell it. It's quite strong but not overpowering, just how I like scented candles. Now that on it's own would be amazing, the strong fragrance and and a candle, but this is a colour changing candle. I haven't seen these work before but these are simply enchanting. I believe there is a sensor in the candle which alerts it to begin changing colour. It is so therapeutic. The candle instantly knows when the flame is blown out too, and turns itself off. I think is actual magic. My mum has actually claimed this as her own now as it's that awesome. 
These have easily become my favourite home fragrances. Plus Air Wick products are so easy to get hold of, it makes it easier than I can pick up one of their fragranced products with my local supermarket shop.

Say hello to my massimo April advertiser, Wardrobe Conversations!

* Products sent for review. 

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Meet my April advertisers.

As you all know (or should do by now!) I offer advertising each month for bloggers. You can read all the details here. This month I'm proud to have Wardrobe Conversations on board again for a second month, and a new advertiser, Plus Size Beauty Addict
Wardrobe Conversations. 

Wardrobe Conversations is an amazing blog run by two best friends, Helen and Kimberley. They have chosen to be my massimo advertisers again this month. Good choice ladies, hehe.

What they have to say:
'We are Helen and Kimberley. We are pale, bespectacled best friends from North East Scotland who enjoy fashion, art, tea, cake and vintage fairs. We met at high school, where we spent our days collecting fashion magazines, doing awful clothing DIYs and dreaming of becoming the next Trinny and Susannah.
Now, Helen is a Clothing Design graduate and Kimberley has a degree in English Language. We live 80 miles apart. Our blog is a celebration of our friendship, our styles and our times together. It includes our outfits, adventures, style challenges, nail art and more!'

I absolutely adore their blog and take pleasure in reading it constantly. Their fashion posts are truly inspiring, and I finally managed to pick up the Primark dress which Kimberley had on in her birthday outfit post, and that I mentioned in their introduction post in March. Yet again, (sorry Helen!) I've fallen in love with Kimberley's amazing monochrome style in their Mary's Milk Bar post. However, the Pill Popper dress that Helen is wearing in her Sunday Adventure post is simply divine. I did have a look on Coco Fennell website but unfortunately for me they only go up to a size 14, le sigh. 
Plus Size Beauty Addict. 

A big welcome to my new advertiser, Emily from Plus Size Beauty Addict, who has chosen to be my medio advertiser this month. Emily is a yummy mummy beauty blogger, like myself obviously, who has only been blogging since February. She has some amazing beauty reviews which you should all check out. 

What Emily has to say:
'Hi, Im Emily, I'm 26 and a mother of two young children, with limited time and money to socialise I started my blog as a space of my own to chat about all the beauty products and fashion items I love to use, the ones that I cant live without and of course to share my opinion on the items which don't quite live up to my expectations. Im really enjoying seeing my blog grow slowly but surely and am excited to see what the future holds. Emily x'

Emily is a lovely person and an equally fantastic blogger. Since reading her review on the Barry M Gelly Pastel nail polishes I had to pick a few up for my spring/summer collection, I love the ice cream shades, especially sugar apple! 

Saturday, 19 April 2014

What's in my basket? | George at Asda

After having a pop into George yesterday and picking up a few bits for Dexter, I thought I would sit down today and have a nice browse at the 'new in' section of George. Normally they have new items uploaded every day (or so it seems!) and I haven't had a look in a week or so. After deciding that I need a pair of decent jeans that actually fit, and a new pair of jeggings that aren't miles to big for me, I settled on these beauties. And also this gorgeous lipstick print t-shirt! My favourite colour isn't pink unfortunately, it's green, but hey, what you gonna do? Haha. All for a bargain price of £28. I just hope they all fit!

Say a big hello to my massimo April advertiser, Wardrobe Conversations!

Trying to be healthy.

As the weather is a lot nicer I've been trying to get out and get a little more exercise. I'm not a gym bunny although I used to enjoy going to the gym, but being the size I am now, and not being toned after having a baby I would rather avoid bumping into people I know. I've been doing a lot more walking, and not just around the shops. I'm lucky to live in Yorkshire, and on the cusp of the Yorkshire Dales too, so there are some fantastic places to walk. And what better, I live on a rather long and steep hill which takes me up to the moors. 

My walks have been a good fair few miles, and for a good fair few hours. I'm lucky that I have the motivation of taking Dexter out for fresh air too because if I'm honest, at the moment I don't really enjoy going out that much, and my health hasn't been up to scratch. I'm still suffering with high blood pressure from my pre-eclampsia so I have to take it easy. My Bugaboo pram is the perfect asset for my trips as, wait for it, it has an off-road mode. Yep, it has extra large wheels for better stability and manoeuvrability, and is designed specifically for hill walkers, being pushed on the beach, and in the snow too.
I was contacted a little while back by the fantastic guys at The Hut to see if I would like to review some of their health and weight loss products from their sites MyProtein and MyVitamins. I've tried out some of their vitamin products before when I was pregnant, and they worked really well for me, so I was excited at being able to review more for them. 

From MyProtein I opted to try the MP MAX Elle Aqua Slim drinks. These are fantastic to take on a walk as I get pretty thirsty quickly and find water doesn't quite quench my thirst. These drinks come in orange and passionfruit (my fave!) flavour and are designed to help you burn fat more effectively, along with maintaining your hydration, they also contain green tea which is really helpful if you want to detox at the same time too. I've noticed that not only have they been great at making me feel good during my exercise, but they have a natural pick me up too and have made me feel more awake and a lot healthier too. The Aqua Slim drinks are low calorie too, and contain around 25 for the whole bottle. You can buy 12 of these drinks in 500ml size for £7.29 which I think is a great price, and I will certainly be stocking up on more of these for the summer. 
Over at MyVitamins I opted for the complete weight loss bundle of vitamins. The idea behind this bundle is that it contains four packs of essential vitamins to help you with your weight loss. These are the total carb blockers, true woman thermo, total Acai berry, and total CLA. I've read lots of fantastic reviews about Acai berries but have always been quite weary of buying them from certain sites in the past. By buying these vitamins in the bundle you can save 20%, and the cost is only £15.99 for a 30 day supply. 

The total carb blockers are designed to prevent the body from properly digesting carbs so you absorb less calories from starchy foods like pasta and bread. Total CLA is a fatty acid which helps encourage the body to transform stored fats to usable energy. True Woman Thermo contain ten nutrients and caffeine with green tea helping to detox. Total Acai Berry are super foods and help to remove free radicals which can attack the healthy cells in your body.
I haven't been weighing myself at all, but going based on how I feel and how my clothes fit, and I've noticed a change over the past few weeks, it hasn't been an amazing weight drop of stones or whatever, but I feel healthier in myself and that's what it's all about. 

Say a big hello to my massimo April advertiser, Wardrobe Conversations!

* Products sent for review.