Friday, 29 May 2015

A Family Night In | Lifestyle

It's really, really, rare that I have a proper family night in. Although I spend a lot of time with my parents and Dexter, I don't get to spend that much time with my husband due to our living arrangements, so when he's back in the UK it's really nice that we can have a nice family evening in together.

We tend to cram months of living apart within a couple of months so frequently eat out and have family days out, and yep, they cost a lot of money. Money which I should be spending (think Asian!) towards our future, or as I like to call it my beauty fund!

Sometimes it's really nice just to chill out and have a Netflix evening in, catching up on TV shows or watching a good horror movie. Currently we're watching House and my goodness, why didn't I get around to watching it when it was on TV?!

So tonight is Friday night, and we decided to have a family night in (not that we would be going out and hitting up the town, we've decided we are far too old for that now). So we ordered a couple of pizzas from Dominos, somewhere I wouldn't normally order from as their pizzas can be a little pricey, but with the MyVoucherCodes Dominos Pizza discounts we managed to splash out a little bit tonight and save 35%! You may have already seen me mention this on Twitter, but it's definitely worth doing, and especially with it being the weekend.

And what better than to watch a family movie with dinner? Perfect night in for me! And Dexter really enjoyed it too. It made such a difference to all sit and eat pizza in front of the TV rather than our strict 'no TV and dinner at the table' policy. Sometimes change is good, right?

Oh and if you place a cheeky order over £30 you get a Ben & Jerry's ice cream for free. I had to pop that in the freezer before anyone saw, that's my little treat for later!

So go on, why not treat yourself? It is the weekend after all! And why not spend a little more time with your loved ones this weekend?

#WeAreBold with | Fashion

I'm quite a bold, bright, enthusiastic and outgoing person, and this is always reflected in my appearance. Whether it be down to my pastel coloured or blonde hair, or the bright, neon colours and patterns in my wardrobe, I love being bold. I am proud of who I am, and it's taken several years for me to feel comfortable in my skin and be the person who I am. asked me to identify myself with one of their styles and I had to pick #WeAreBold, because quit simply, I am. I did find it difficult to decide whether I was #WeAreBold or #WeAreFree as I pretty much am both, but definitely feel more bold, hehe. The fabulous folks over at sent me a couple of items just to show how bold I truly am.
I love Boohoo's plus size range and I've bought plenty of gorgeous items from them before, but when I saw this neon print dress I had to have it. I'm a massive fan of pattern and love anything geometric or with a chevron print so this dress it right up my street. Unfortunately the plus size version of the Amy neon Aztec swing dress* is no longer available on the site but this beautiful Ella swing dress is very similar. The Ana Trilby hat* is the perfect festival essential this season. I'm a fan of hats even though I don't feature them on the blog, but you can't really go wrong with a good straw hat. Ideal to take you through Spring and into Summer, this piece is timeless in your wardrobe. To finish the look, I decided to take a step into my comfort zone by wearing a necklace that I wouldn't necessarily class as a 'statement' piece of jewellery. The oversize Hamsa necklace is unfortunately sold out online too (oh no!) but here is a similar one

I absolutely love this dress and teamed with a longline kimono will look fabulous for festivals whilst keeping you cosy when the temperature drops. I would normally opt for going without leggings with such a gorgeous, and long(!), dress however it's still a little cold around here at the moment! The gladiator sandals are really old and come from Primark and probably cost around £6 but are my trusty summer sandals and I can't get enough of them. 

So what do you think of my outfit? How do you think you would identify? #WeAreBold are #WeAreFree? You should definitely check out Boohoo's StyleFix too! If you head on over to be sure to check out their dresses section, there's currently 35% off at the moment!

*Although this post is sponsored/or contains product samples, all opinions and content are my own. 

Thursday, 28 May 2015

An alternative 18-30 holiday ~ Sunny Beach, Bulgaria | Travel

I have never been on an 18-30 holiday, purely because that's not the type of trip I'm looking for. When you think of an 18-30 holiday my mind automatically comes to sun, sea and sex, and even when I was younger this definitely wasn't for me. I have wanderlust and dreams of heading off to the Far East as often as I could. It's because of my obsession for the Far East that I've never thought of looking at other holiday destinations, but lately I've been thinking a lot about spending time closer to home, namely European destinations.

Bulgaria is one place that comes to mind, and a friend of my often frequents there too and thoroughly enjoys it. Plus it's extremely well priced for flights and accommodation, just take a look over on HolidayGems for yourself! Sunny Beach in Bulgaria is a well-known 18-30 destination, but what else does it have to offer a family almost in their thirties with a baby?

Nessebar is an ancient town in Sunny Beach, and with it being a UNESCO world heritage site it's definitely one place that will get my historical juices flowing. Having studied ancient history I'm a bit of a geek when it comes to beautiful towns such as this with such a varied Roman and Ottoman history. Not your thing? Then there are miles of beautiful blue lagoon beaches where you can rest your weary feet and catch up with your tan. A foodie? Well there are plenty of seafood restaurants there too with local produce, this definitely got my husband interested!

Interested in something a little more adventurous for the family? Then why not try out the latest aqua park in Bulgaria? Aqua Park, again in Nessebar, boasts several long, high and winding water slides along with a castle inspired by younger children covered in fairy tale characters. This is definitely an attraction the whole family can visit and have an amazing day filled with memories.

Even if you still fancy recuperating on the beach, Sunny Beach have plenty of beach activities to offer such as pedalos and banana boats, waterskiing, jet-skiing, paragliding(!), and scuba diving. Phew. If you don't fancy hitting up the sea and would prefer to stay with feet on mainland you can always enjoy a game of volleyball or mini-golf.

And if you're like me and love a little bit of holiday tat to remember your time there, you could always hit up Flower Street and grab a bargain before you come home. However, if you're interested in hitting more of the high-street named shops there's a shopping mall aptly named the Royal Beach Mall catering for everyone's needs.

So what do you think about an alternative 18-30 holiday? Would you ever hit up a different side of Bulgaria? I'm definitely tempted, Sunny Beach looks absolutely gorgeous!

*Although this post is sponsored, all opinions and content are my own. 

Clarks Hotel Image Leisure from Jones Bootmaker | Fashion

Lets take a few moments to appreciate how amazing these shoes are? I've been lusting after them for quite some time now and then the fabulous folks at Jones Bootmaker sent me them for review. I mean, they are the ideal summer brogues. I'm a fan of cutout shoes although I've had a few pairs of cutout boots that unfortunately I can't buckle anymore, so these are the perfect alternative. They are the most gorgeous shade of ivory, but I'd be careful wearing these as I only had them on a for a few moments outside before I noticed a tiny grass stain, whoopsie! It came of pretty easily though. Oh, and how could I fail to mention they are Clarks shoes? But you'd already guessed that...
Evans ivory art print shirt £24.50 in the sale | ASOS linen midi skirt with pocket detail £28.00 | Clarks hotel image leisure shoes £70* from Jones Bootmaker

For this vintage inspired summer outfit, I teamed the brogues with a my gorgeous Evans ivory art print shirt. I've seen quite a few bloggers team this shirt with jeans as it is quite long but I fancied a change so decided to wear it with this gorgeous linen skirt from ASOS. I've been lusting after denim-look midi skirts for quite a while so when I saw this (I bought it 3 months ago!) I knew I had to have it. It hasn't really been the weather to wear an outfit like this though so she only popped out to make a photo appearance.
Jones Bootmaker are a company that I have known the name of all my life and have regularly bought quality shoes from them both online and from their store in Leeds. They offer high quality products (as you can see!) and a great service. They even stock children's shoes and offer a fantastic service when purchasing children's shoes in store. Have you ever tried taking a toddler for their shoes measuring?! You need someone dedicated to the job!

*This blog post contains product sample(s) or has been compensated, all opinions are my own. 

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Wish List Wednesday ~ Summer Stylin' | Fashion

Summer is here(!) apparently although I've yet to see it. I don't think a flutter of sunshine one afternoon and highs of 14 degrees really counts quite yet. I've seen lots of summer holiday snaps all over Instagram and although I'm pretty jealous right now, it got me thinking about summer outfits and what I'm missing in my wardrobe for when the sun does pop its head around the corner. I'm always extremely unprepared and I don't even own a pair of shorts(!) so I thought I would show a few of my favourite picks for the up-coming season.

I should probably starting thinking about purchasing a few summer essentials too as I'll be heading off to China in September and it'll still be incredibly hot over there. We're talking in the thirties. Oh yes.

I decided to pick three outfits that could easily be mixed and matched to create numerous casual day and evening outfits.
1. George v-front woven camisole in mint, Evans plus sized acid wash skinny jeans from House of Fraser, and New Look tan trim stitch backpack. I thought this outfit would be great for visiting attractions, it's comfortable and will keep you looking cool all day.

2. George tailored blouse, George scenic print skirt and New Look rose gold perforated duffle bag. This outfit is definitely for hitting the beach on a cooler day (especially the ones we have in Yorkshire, those beaches are pretty windy!). The rose gold duffle bag is (enter emojicon here) perfect and I definitely have my eye on that one at the moment. Such a simple, elegant outfit that will take you from a shopping trip to an evening meal.

3. George duster jacket in mint, Riley gold foil swing camisole crop top from South Beach, George patterned embellished shorts, and New Look black quilted bar clutch bag. This is my favourite outfit and I think the hints of gold will definitely show off that beautiful, bronze tan over the summer. The shorts are a statement piece, and although this outfit is geared towards the evening, could just as easily be worn during the day. My favourite key piece in this outfit is the George duster jacket, unfortunately this is no longer available online but I have snapped up the neon coral version. So versatile!

I hope you like my outfit choices, and that I can give you a little summer inspiration for your wardrobe too. Hopefully we should be blessed with a little sunshine this week so the iPhone weather app tells me, although whether it will hit anything about 13 degrees is hit and miss. Anyway, we're only in May so hopefully we should have a little bit of luck in June!

Ox-Blood Busby Jazz Shoes from Shoutique | Fashion

You may have seen these images over on my Instagram last week  (and if not, why not?!) before heading on a mini-stationery shop in Ilkley. I absolutely adore this outfit. It's quite a simple outfit with minimal accessorising but I do think when I wear a headscarf that can pretty much do a vast amount of accessorising for me.

I picked up the dress in the New Look Inspire sale back in March when I headed to York for Mother's Day, and I think this is the first or second time I've had it on! I have that many tunic dresses in my wardrobe that most of the beautiful ones are pushed to the back. After having an intensive sort out and eBay of a lot of my dresses I've rediscovered this one. It's been that long since I bought it that I honestly can't remember how much it cost, but I'm guessing around £7. Teamed with my trusty George leggings (a 2 pack costs £10!) that I have multiple pairs of, and the new beautiful additions to my shoe collection.
The absolutely gorgeous Clark's Busby Jazz shoes are the most stunning pair of shoes I've owned in a long time. They have the perfect sized heel (which to many of you will be non-existent!) of about an inch. I can't walk in heels at all, and since I'm now back on crutches I can't pretty much walk in anything but flats so these are a really pretty addition and definitely worth wearing over my Converse.  They are ox-blood although I would say they are a deep burgundy with a black ombre and cutout detailing to the front. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to buckle the shoes because of neuropathy in my hands, but they are slightly elasticated at the buckle and slip on perfectly. I ordered a size 8 (42) and they are just a tad too big around the foot itself but I'm going to pop a sock in them just to bulk them out a bit. They are incredibly comfortable and I'm always in love with a pair of Clark's shoes. Oh and what better, they are currently £35 in the sale over at Shoetique. Yep, a boutique for shoes!
The awesome folks over at Shoetique offer free next day delivery if you order before 8pm Monday to Friday too, and they offer a price match promise meaning if you see these beauties on sale somewhere else cheaper, they will match the difference! I'll definitely be using them in the future. They also stock men's shoes and kid's shoes too, from numerous well-known brands as well. They are definitely worth looking at for your next purchase! Brilliant.

*This blog post contains product sample(s) or has been compensated, all opinions are my own. 

Monday, 25 May 2015

My Holiday Essentials | Beauty

A couple of weeks ago I headed off on my family holiday to Haven at Caister on Sea near Great Yarmouth, a destination that has been a family favourite since I was a child. Here are the holiday essentials I packed to ensure I kept my beauty regime right on track.

NSPA Hot Cloth Polish
I've been using NSPA's hot cloth polish on and off for some time now, although recently it's become my go-to cleanser since running out of my favourite Olive Oil cleanser I bought in China. I believe lots of bloggers have likened this as a dupe to the Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish however, I've never used this product so cannot comment. I absolutely adore the NSPA version though, retailing at £7 at ASDA, or you can occasionally pick it up on their two for £8, I find this such a bargain. This product is a creamy cleanser that contains cocoa butter, almond oil, vitamin E, avocado, apricot and neroli oils. This cleanser can definitely can remove the most pigmented eyeliners and leave your skin feeling hydrated.

'I Love...' Mango and Papaya Shower Creme* and Body Spritzer*
You may have seen my review of the Peachy Passionfruit fragrance of the 'I Love...' body creme and body spritzer before, so you can see how much I already love their products. They are now making travel sized products, so I had to bring these with me. They are the perfect size for going away, I know I'll be stocking up on these beauties nowadays. They are soon to be available at Primark so definitely head off there for your travel essentials!

Garnier Fructis Oil Repair 3 Shampoo and Conditioner
I won't mention a lot about these products as I don't think you can buy them in the UK unless they may occasionally have them in Poundland or stores like Home Bargains and B&M. I bought these originally when I was in Munich last year and loved them that much that the hubby has brought them back in bulk for me. They work wonderfully with my bleach damaged and dry hair due to their miracle and essential oils. If you see any, I would definitely recommend giving them a go as they only cost a couple of quid and work as well as some of their more expensive counterparts here in the UK.

EOS Lip Balm
I'm such a fan of EOS lip balms and have already gone through three of these since discovering them a couple of years ago. This particular one is honeysuckle honeydew flavour and is so delicious, it just tastes like honeydew melon! I also picked up a matching hand cream whilst in a store in China. I currently have a raspberry and pomegranate on the go too, and definitely need to invest in a couple more. These are essential when hitting up the beaches, especially if there is a strong wind around!

My Little Beauty Masque Reparateur (conditioning hair mask)
This conditioning hair mask is from a My Little Beauty box I received a while back (I've only just had a good sort through of all the products, oops!). I decided to take this with me as a little extra protection after I went swimming as chlorine not only likes to make beautiful platinum hair green but can play havoc with it's condition too. I applied this straight after a shower in the swimming pool and left it on until I got back for added nourishment.
*This blog post contains product sample(s) or has been compensated, all opinions are my own. 

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Events on in Sheffield 2015 | Lifestyle & Travel

Sheffield is famous for its unique cultural events that impress even the most sophisticated traveller. Apart from the fact that the city is famous for its world-renowned universities, the city government exerts every effort to expand the glory of the city and make it an interesting destination not only because of its affordable student accommodation Sheffield.

Every year Sheffield hosts many different festivals, concerts, exhibitions. In this regard 2015 is no exception. This year for a few weeks Sheffield turns into a real anthill of fans of billiards, journalists and various international observers. All of them come here to take part in the annual Snooker Championship held in the late spring.

During the warmer months Sheffield hosts an incredibly beautiful historical festival. The festival highlights not only the local culture, but also the history of faraway countries. The participants can learn a lot of interesting things about ancient Greece and Rome and watch the battles of the Vikings.

Sheffield summer 2015 schedule offers another festival of food, traditionally held in the center of the city. This year's event promises to be even more delightful and tastier than ever! More than 40 thousand people gather annually in the city center to try delicious dishes for every taste. The variety of activities is impressive: here you will find everything from food markets to gastronomic master classes. The main aim of the festival is to show the diversity and magnificence of the local culinary art.

The first weekend of July-2015 hosts the annual music festival. No wonder that Sheffield has the fame of the best place for music concerts and festivals!

In October and November-2015 Sheffield will hold the International Documentary Film Festival - Sheffield Doc/Fest. This is the film market, the presentation of documentary films to the public, the leading forum for independent producers, broadcasters, students, filmmakers. This is the most important documentary film festival in the UK. After all, Sheffield is one of the key points for the documentary industry as a whole, a place for the largest industry players - representatives of the BBC, Channel 4, ARTE and others that make documentary films.

Throughout October the city will also host the festival of comedy - you will have a chance to enjoy the unique English humor of the best comedians.

Lively and harmonious, filled with unique atmosphere, Sheffield is an ideal holiday destination for those who decide to visit it in 2015.

Saturday, 23 May 2015

#PatAPet at Thorntonhall Farm Country Park | Lifestyle, Travel & My Motherhood Diary

Last week we headed off to Thorntonhall Farm Country Park near Skipton, North Yorkshire for a day of patting pets, feeding the llamas and playing in the great outdoors. Initially it was pretty darn hard to find the place as the SatNav didn't quite get us to the right location, and even being local I still had difficulty getting us in the right area. There were signs however, too small to actually notice where we should turn off. It added an annoying 30 minutes extra to our journey of 20 minutes.

The place itself is fantastic, and they offer 'toddler time' during term time meaning two adults and a toddler can attend for £5. A bargain considering their ticket prices are ridiculous at any other time, I like to think of myself as pretty thrifty so at £5.50 per adult and £3.50 for a toddler it can be pretty costly. I also recommend taking a picnic as well to keep costs low. They also offer children's rides and extra costs around the park so bear this in mind if you're thinking of going. Luckily Dexter is pretty young so we don't really need to splash out. Although, something else to take into consideration is the fact there will be school trips there and you might have a problem petting some of the smaller animals, or being around for lamb feeds etc. We were told one of the staff would call us when they were ready for the toddler groups however, no one actually did and so we missed out on a few of those bits. It didn't matter too much to us as Dexter wasn't that interested anyway and just wanted to pat a goat!
They have an amazing indoor barn section with a hay bale maze, tractors for the little ones to play with, and a large slide for the older kids amongst emus (you may have seen on Instagram that Dexter was bitten by one!), chicks, rabbits, guinea pigs, puppies(!), and llamas. Yep you read right, llamas! In a separate barn there were cows and lambs. All very tame, and eager for treats! I was quite surprised how tame they all were and were so happy when we came along with treats for them too. I was a little concerned that the llamas might spit as they are known to, but they just wanted a good stroke!

There are fantastic facilities on site for everyone, a tea room, toddler and baby play room where they have sensory play sessions, and an outdoor picnic area with outdoor play area too. I think we'll definitely go back again, probably this time with a picnic and spend a lot of time outdoors near the chickens on a warm summer's day.
Lets not forget the reason behind this trip though. The fabulous folks over at the RSPCA want to raise awareness for abandoned animals. 'More than one animal is abandoned every hour in England' is not a headline nor a statistic I want to read, and I'm quite sure you don't either. One thing this country has to offer is that we are proud of taking care of animals, I've grown up with several pets including dogs and cats and I wouldn't dream of abandoning my pet whatsoever. I'm sure some of you will have seen the work the RSPCA are doing with ITV at the moment with their show Give a Pet a Home and you can participate with the show and adopt an animal from there. You should check it out here. If you're interested in adopting a pet, or helping out the RSPCA you can pop along to their site and have a look at the amazing work they're doing.

A big thank you to the fabulous folks over at Talented Talkers for enabling us to have such an amazing day out, and helping Dexter discover local areas and all the amazing animals he can grow up with. I know many children out there don't have that opportunity, so thank you again from the Pan clan!

*This blog post contains product sample(s) or has been compensated, all opinions are my own. 

Monday, 18 May 2015

Magnitone Lucid Review (and 20% discount code!) | Beauty

Cleansing and exfoliating brushes have been all the rage on the blogosphere for quite some time, and that's one hype I've never succumbed to due to the actual cost of owning such a luxury. Most of the exfoliating brushes I've seen have easily peaked £100 plus and that's not something I'm willing to splash out my cash on.

Whilst joining the #BHTwitterParty hosted by Bloggers Love (and if you weren't at the party, why not?!) they were giving away a chance to review the Magnitone Lucid cleansing and exfoliating brush. It seemed the perfect opportunity for me to give it a go!

The brush arrived whilst I was on holiday so picked it up last week from the sorting office, it's given me the chance to have a full week using it before I wrote my review.

I received the 'sunshine yellow' Magnitone Lucid. I was really surprised that inside the box was a magnetic charger, this isn't something I've come across before but was extremely impressed with. It also comes with a travel charger, ideal for taking with you on holiday this summer; plus the size is just right to travel with too. The Magnitude Lucid is waterproof, but they do not recommend you immerse it in water however, you can use it in the shower. The Lucid is suitable for use on both normal and sensitive skin. I'm a complete fan of the cleansing timer, this means that every 20 seconds the Lucid bleeps to let you know to change the area on your face (all details are in the instruction booklet).

Now to the nitty gritty, they claim that in seven days you can have 'softer, brighter, smoother skin' down to the superior deep-pore cleansing and gentle exfoliation. Both myself and my mum have been trialling this product for a week and have noticed considerable differences in our skin. My mum, who is in her sixties has noticed a reduction of fine lines, and I can safely say I can see her skin is a lot fuller and plumper. For myself, I've noticed that my skin is clear and blemish free (I'm not an acne sufferer but do have discolouration and sebum build up), it also looks a lot more plumper and overall a lot clearer. We have both been using the product with our regular cleansers, mine being the NSPA Hot Cloth Polish. I did try to use with an exfoliator but didn't notice any difference results. I can't say I've noticed much of a difference in sebum and white head build up, but I'm hoping with twice daily continual use that this will dissipate.

I can honestly say I've been a complete convert of cleansing and exfoliating brushes. I use mine ritually twice a day without fail, and it's easily fallen in to my skincare routine without any problems. As I mentioned earlier it's suitable for all skin types, I usually have very sensitive skin but this has worked very well for my skin so I highly recommend this product for anyone with allergies or sensitive skin types.

You can pick yours up here from £69.99, but as you're one of my beautiful blog readers, I can offer you a discount of 20% off your Magnitude giving you a saving of £13.99 and making it £56! Just use code Michelle20 at checkout. Even at full RRP I would happily buy this product!

The only decision you have to make now is which colour? Plush pink, aqua green, dazzling blue or sunshine yellow?
*This blog post contains product sample(s) or has been compensated, all opinions are my own. 

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Neal & Wolf AURA; Hair & Body Fragrance | Beauty

I'm a huge fan of Neal & Wolf products, and their haircare range is astounding. Their products are in my day to day haircare regime, and I've just finished burning their scented candle, the review of which you can find here. The fragrance is simply divine, and I think that's what makes the Neal & Wolf products so popular. Their scent remains the same on each product, and is synonymous with the brand.

So what better than to offer a new product, a product that can make your body smell as good as your hair. Oh yes, sign me up.

AURA is the new hair and body fragrance, retailing at £20.95 for a 45ml spray bottle and can be bought from their website here.

Now when the bottle arrived, I was really interested in seeing that it contained SPF 15 to help protect your hair. This isn't something I've thought about before, but considering my hair is damaged from bleaching and dying, it's interesting to see that I can get further protection after applying products. Well done Neal & Wolf, well done. It's also sulphate, paraben, DEA (diethanolamide), TEA (triethanolamide) and cruelty free.

The signature Neal & Wolf scent, if you haven't sampled their products before, is simply divine. I adore a fruity and sweet fragrance and this hits every button for me; containing orange blossom, white thyme and saffron combined with flora aromas of ylang ylang, orchid and vanilla. It has to be one of my favourite fragrances, and now I can smell beautiful all the time, it's easily replaced my YSL Black Opium.

As I said above, you can buy it on it's own for £20.95, but I definitely think it's worth buying the Aroma Collection containing both the AURA hair and body fragrance, and the indulgence scented candle for £33.95. I know this will be on my birthday list as when December comes around I'll have used the hair and body fragrance!

*This blog post contains product sample(s) or has been compensated, all opinions are my own. 

Thursday, 14 May 2015

The Bedroom Edit | Lifestyle

I'm sure you will have seen from my previous posts that I'm currently renovating my apartment in China, and if you haven't, where have you been? In today's post I will be talking about bedroom furniture, something I haven't talked much about as hubby doesn't like spending money on unnecessary things. We do already have a bed, but it's not to my taste and I would really like another one however, I think we'll end up 'making do' with what we have. I'm practicing 'thinking like an Asian' at the moment which means no extra spends. However, I'm hoping we will be able to compromise on some spends as a good mattress is something that I need in my life. Because of my spinal and nerve damage, sleeping comfortable is a necessity for me.

Rodgers of York have such a large array of beds, in all different shapes and styles, some of which I didn't even know existed before, and they cater for all you needs by offering a mattress specifically for your needs too. 

I haven't owned a divan bed before, and have quite often just bought under the bed storage boxes or basically thrown everything under the bed so I could never reach it again. I've always found them incredibly ugly, and have never seen one quite like the ones on the Rodgers of York website; they come in different colours and have beautifully styled headboards. I think I might have become a convert; and best of all, they have drawers where I can keep my mess hidden but easily accessible. 

I like minimalism, my bedroom is white with light floorboards. In fact the whole apartment is in-keeping with that colour scheme in order I can use colour to emphasise and accessorise. I adore geometric prints at the moment, and a colour palette with greys is right up my street. That's why I love the duvet cover so much in this George bedroom wish list post. Rodgers of York have a couple of beautiful grey beds on their website at the moment, and I had to share them with you!
And to go with these beautiful beds, here are a couple of accessories that I think would work marvellously. Adding a couple of grey accessories and teaming them with copper really accentuates the blank canvas I have to begin with. 

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

One dress, three ways #3 | Fashion

You may have seen in my 'one dress, three ways' posts (here are number one and number two) that George at Asda challenged me to find a staple for my wardrobe and wear it three ways. I chose a black midi bodycon dress for £10.

Here is my third post and last 'one dress, three ways' outfit post, although I'm sure you'll see the items being featured regularly on here. 

I decided that I would opt for a casual daytime look this time. You may have noticed from my other posts in this series that I've chosen my outfits to suit all occasions, showing how versatile the dress really can be. This time I've teamed it with a gorgeous neon coral duster jacket, a simple pair of black pumps, my favourite iPad case now being used as a clutch and a bug necklace I bought several years ago and have never worn. It's really easy to add a quick pop of colour to your outfit with simple accessories, such as the geometric scarf I've worn as a headscarf/turban here. You may have guessed I'm really into them at the moment! 

George black midi bodycon dress* £10 | George neon duster blazer* £12 | George geometric scarf worn as headscarf £5* | Primark black flats £4 (in stores now) | H&M neon bug necklace (old) | New Look nude iPad case used as a clutch (old)

*This post contains items sent by George at Asda.

Custom Made Couture Dresses with YesMyBride | Fashion

With prom approaching, and being in the wedding season, wouldn't it be lovely to have a custom made couture dress just for you? YesMyBride (don't be fooled by the name as they offer lots of gowns!) offer an easy, personalised service just for you.

If you have a design in mind, great! You can e-mail your design to your customer designer at YesMyBride who will tailor the dress to your needs and requirements. You'll always been kept up to date on what's happening with your dress as your designer will e-mail you photos every step of the way. When your dress is complete, they will send you a 360 degree review image to make sure you're 100% happy with your dress, and then they will post it to you. What could be more simple? Even if your drawing skills aren't that good, or you just have a basic idea of what you want, send the custom designer your idea and they will help you on your way.

There are no limits to what you can have on your gown, the only limit is your imagination! All design elements are possible, including the style, material, and colour. It really is that simple to creating your perfect, unique dress.

If you're looking for inspiration, you can check out their 'our works and buyers show' and gallery on the front page, showing you gowns they have previously made. These images show intricate and quality work, with quality materials too.

My favourite creation has to be this vintage inspired number,  this has gone to one very lucky lady!
*This blog post contains product sample(s) or has been compensated, all opinions are my own. 

Monday, 11 May 2015

Wigs, oh wigs! Featuring Hairbro | Beauty

You may not know but there is a reason I keep my hair short. I like have unnatural, bright and pastel hair colours and bleach it far too often. What's good about keeping it short is that I can constantly cut the damaged hair off and start again, and say if it's gets too damaged I can always shave it all off and start again.

Part of me would love to have long hair. Long gorgeous brown hair with an ombre. That's what I love, and that's what I can have with my wigs. I have quite a few wigs, that I'm not often seen wearing them in blog posts but frequently wear out of the house. I see hair as accessorising, you can have multiple colours to match your handbags and shoes. I have two favourites at the moment, one medium length warm brown and ombre wig which I wore a lot when I shaved my head, and the second is a newer addition. A beautiful shoulder length naturally wavy ashy iced brunette wig with an ashy ombre. So yummy!

Hairbro have an amazing assortment of remy human hair wigs, and so many to choose from on their website. They also offer men's hair replacement treatments too which look really good, especially if you don't want to go down the cosmetic route. All three of these wigs are made from human hair which means you can wash and style them as you would do your own hair. They have such a vast selection to pick from, and I did um-and-ah for quite a while but had to narrow my favourite down to this Lauren Conrad wavy wig. The Katy Perry purple one however is absolutely stunning and might need to be the next in my collection!
Hairbro's hair replacement system is fantastic, not only do they let you pick your wig and colour, you can choose the density and how much grey hair is included. When you place your order all your details are kept on file as a preference for your next order, and as the wig is made they keep you updated with photos of your product to ensure you are happy with the service at all times. This means that rather than buying a standard wig off eBay and taking a risk as to what it might look like, you can always be happy with your product from a hair replacement specialist.

What do you think of wigs, and their hair replacement system? Isn't it a great idea?

*This blog post contains product sample(s) or has been compensated, all opinions are my own. 

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Lets get spiralizing #1 ~ Prawn & Chilli Stir Fry | Lifestyle

We all know the importance of healthy eating, it's drilled in to us so regularly that a lot of us (myself included!) rebel against these policies. However, I do eat my five a day, and always ensure I have a home cooked meal every day, usually a standard English meat and two veg deal. Now I'm not all for clean eating as I don't find meals particularly interesting, but I've slowly been introducing a new way of eating (or diet as some of you may wish to call it) into my life, mindful eating. According to LV's blog post on mindful eating, there are suggestions that this isn't a new diet and that has been going for centuries. This is very similar to my way of life in China, ensuring that you listen to your body, chewing your food well and savouring the taste, and not giving your body constraints to only eating three times a day. I like this, and it works well for me. Me and my spiralizer.

I love the spiralizer, it's easily become the most used kitchen item I own, aside for my Nutri Bullet. It arrived with an amazing recipe book too, and I've certainly tried more than a couple of recipes out of out. I decided to narrow it down to my two favourites and blog about them. This post is dedicated to the prawn and chilli stir fry.

This recipe serves one, I double up on the ingredients for two servings. Simple really.

Carrots weighing 300g
2 tsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped (I used dried chilli flakes)
1/2 onion, chopped
750g trimmed green beans
150g king prawns/jumbo shrimp
salt and pepper to taste
1. Top, tail and peel the carrots and use the straight/slicer blade to turn into thin ribbons (if you don't have a spiralizer you could cut into thin strips). 

2. Gently heat a large non-stick frying pan on the hob with the olive oil and sauté the garlic, chilli and onions for 2 minutes.

3. Add the prawns and green beans and cook for two minutes longer.

4. Add the carrot ribbons and quickly move around the pan for two minutes or until the prawns are cooked through.

5. Season and serve.
*This blog post contains product sample(s) or has been compensated, all opinions are my own. 

Friday, 8 May 2015

Living as a semi-expat: lets talk about parcel delivery | Lifestyle & Travel

As a lot of you will know I am a semi-expat, I live between England and China and so there are many trials and tribulations that come with the lifestyle. I absolutely love China and have the intention of moving out there on a permanent basis - you may have seen my previous blog posts on my apartment renovation, and I'm proud to say it's coming on nicely and there will be a few updates in the future. I decided that I would start a little 'living as a semi-expat' series on the blog, just to give a little insight into what sort of a lifestyle I live in China, and how much it differs and compares with living in the UK. This is my first blog post, and I thought it would be apt to start with parcel delivery considering over the next month or so I'll be shipping a lot of my life over to China.

There are a couple of problems with living in two countries, one of which is that I've become so accustomed to products from the UK that even if I can buy them in China I would much prefer to have them shipped over. Buying UK and European products in China can come with a hefty price tag, and also still leaves you wondering whether everything is a legitimate and authentic product. Sigh. Yet on the other hand I absolutely adore being able to buy Korean and Japanese products there. It's the lesser of two evils really.

The same applies with buying foodstuffs, buying international products in supermarkets can be pretty hefty costing, so to me it seems money saving to bulk buy products and have them shipped all in one box. Recently me and hubby have called this 'thinking like an Asian'. Chinese people love to save money, it's in their culture, so to me it's becoming second nature; oh and not to forget I am from Yorkshire.

Shipping parcels seems to be the right idea for us, that way we can get the best of both worlds. Although the cost of some products are cheaper here, the price of delivery can be a little higher, but this eventually evens itself out over the parcel and can be considerably cheaper than buying products in China itself. Plus there is the fact that we know we are buying are authentic, and this is imperative when you have a child.

TNT Direct is a courier and delivery service that I trust and have used several times before, they offer a door to door international delivery service which is hard to come by for the part of China where I live. Many companies are happy to deliver to ports or large cities (we're talking much larger than where I live!) but are unable to offer a door to door service, and that's essential for me. And you know what else is brilliant about their service? They can deliver within 2-4 working days by an express delivery service. Although I have used their economy express service before and had a packaged delivered to me within a week which is still pretty amazing, and costs around £20 less (here comes the 'thinking like an Asian' part!). I highly recommend their service, and haven't had a single problem at all.

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Toddler Style #1 | Motherhood Diary

This is the first real post I've written about Dexter's style. When he was a baby it was so difficult to get him to stay still for more than a second to take photos of his outfits. He's even worse now as a toddler but hopefully I can catch him in action poses and snap a couple of shots. I have absolutely no idea how anyone can take shots of their child if they are anything like mine! Dexter is constantly on his feet and running around, from morning until night.

So here we go with our first outfit! It's a little mismatched today as the baseball cap doesn't quite go with the outfit but I really struggle to find them without a print. Answers on a postcard please! 
H&M baseball cap (this seasons but not on the website) | Next dinosaur t-shirt (last season) | Mini Club at Boots mustard chinos (this season but not on the website) | Clark's blue Doodles Little Chap first shoes £18.00

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

One dress, three ways #2 | Fashion

You may have seen in my 'one dress, three ways' post number one that George at Asda challenged me to find a staple for my wardrobe and wear it three ways. I chose a black midi bodycon dress for £10.

Here is my second post and outfit number two! 

For this outfit I decided to make the dress suitable for evening wear/going out. I've teamed the dress with a long lace kimono and my favourite rose gold ankle boots. The clutch, is in fact not a clutch at all but an iPad case that I no longer have use for. As this dress is black and can be worn in many ways, you'll have great wear from it this summer with different coloured kimonos. I couldn't find the right piece of statement jewellery for this dress however, it would rock with a bold necklace. I think everyone knows I'm loving rocking a headscarf at the moment, so I decided that this would add a splash of colour, although I have a couple of beautiful gold ones that would have looked as equally amazing. 
George black midi bodycon dress £10* | Dorothy Perkins black lace kimono £14.00 in the sale reduced from £20.00 | YRU from ASOS Xena scrappy western ankle boots £22.00 in the sale reduced from £52.00 (hence why I bought these beauties!) | Nude cutout iPad case used as a clutch (old) | Navy and red chain print headscarf (vintage) 

*This post contains items sent by George at Asda.

Friday, 1 May 2015

One dress, three ways #1 | Fashion

George at Asda are no stranger on Satchels & Pearls, I'm regularly posting wish lists and outfit posts with their products, and they are my favourite clothing brand too. What more could I want than browsing their collection and picking up my weekly shop? At a size 20 I fit in their regular ranges although now they have a plus size range too which is brilliant.

When George challenged me to use one item and style it three ways I jumped at the chance. I'm in the middle of creating a capsule/staple wardrobe and love adding key pieces I can wear several ways. 

The star of the show is a black midi bodycon dress that costs £10! 

I've decided that rather than having one blog post dedicated to three outfits, I would spread it out over a few posts for when I'm away next week too.

So this is my first outfit. I thought I would honour the festival season with my first outfit, and offer something with a bit of a boho style. I've been looking for the perfect pair of Western boots but have to find them (I'm still searching vintage shops and on eBay!) so I decided to team the outfit with a pair of tan Chelsea boots. I'm in love with the coral crochet tassel waistcoat and I can see this being worn loads when the weather is a lot warmer. My bag is a really old plaid bucket bag I bought years ago and recently found in the back of the wardrobe during a clear out. 
George black midi bodycon dress* £10 | George crochet tassel waistcoat* £14 | Dorothy Perkins tan Chelsea gusset boots £12.50 in the sale | Tan faux leather plaid bucket bag (old) | Navy and red chain headscarf (vintage)

*This post contains items sent by George at Asda.