Friday, 29 December 2017

Happy Things #8 - Festive Edition 2017

Hello everyone! First of all, I hope you have all had an incredible Christmas filled with lots of laughter, love, and good food! I thought I'd do a special festive edition of my usual "Happy Things" series so I can share with you a few of the gifts I received and a few things that have made me happy this festive season.

Pandora. Is it even Christmas without a bit of sparkle??? I received 2 beautiful charms for Christmas this year to add onto my new Pandora bracelet. 

Fox & Ivy cutlery (link here). I have been obsessed with the new Fox & Ivy range at Tesco recently so I was super happy to unwrap this on Christmas Day. It has a slightly dented effect to it which I love, and the handles are rounded and heavy which I much prefer over the flat handles. I'm definitely going to get myself some of the crockery from the Fox & Ivy range once all the festive hustle and bustle calms down a bit.

Body mists. I've been loving body mists at the moment and they're great for a quick pick-me-up, especially at this time of year when it can be a little dark and miserable at times. I'll admit that a lot of body mists can initially smell good but they turn chemically really quickly so you really do have to pick carefully. My favourites are definitely the ones from The Body Shop as well as the Zoella Beauty range. So fresh and uplifting.

Food. Food makes me happy all year round but moreso at Christmas when most restaurants bring out their festive menus. When you've got time off work, it's also an excuse to explore new places and visit new restaurants that you haven't ventured in before. This was a delicious quinoa & sweet potato burger at Bar Estilo in Birmingham. I highly recommend this place as the food was delicious, the decor was stylish, the atmosphere was relaxed, and the staff were incredibly friendly and welcoming.

Dove Bliss Booster shower gels (link here). You can't have Christmas without something nice-smelling for the shower/bath! I am absolutely obsessed with the scent of these shower gels at the moment. They smell intoxicating and definitely one of the nicest ones I've come across in a while. I have sensitive skin so Dove is brilliant for me and I can't wait for my current shower gels to run out so I can replace them with these.

I have had such a lovely week. Let me know what has made you happy during this festive period!

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Guide To Smarter Spending

With Christmas approaching, it's all spend spend spend until the year is over so, today, I'm here to tell you have you can save, save, save by shopping a little smarter.

I'll admit that I used to be a bit of a shopaholic who probably bought things that I didn't even want and paid a premium for something that just wasn't worth it. Once I started working full-time, my attitude to spending started changing and I now have a much healthier and mature view on finance.

Don't get me wrong, I still splurge on the odd item here and there and I do still do the odd impulse buy but I am fully in control nowadays!

Create an expenses spreadsheet. You can do this in paper form although I much prefer doing this electronically on a spreadsheet as you can set all your formulas to tally everything up for you. List every payment you get from work as well as every time you spend either via cash, card or cheque. I have only recently started doing this and it's incredible how much more aware it makes me. Everytime I enter a new purchase on there and see my remaining balance for that month reduce, it makes me less likely to buy silly little things.

Bookmark items you like and look out for them in the sale. This is a good one for clothing. If I see something online that I like the look of but I'm not dying to have in my life, I bookmark it. I then check in every month or so, or when I know there is a big season sale coming up and I end up purchasing it for just a fraction of the price.

Buy second hand. I know, this isn't for everyone, but there are so many incredible second hand items that are available on the market these days. If you look hard enough, you can find nearly-new high quality items for the a fraction of the original price simply because the owner is moving house or that they've decided that it doesn't fit in with their latest colour scheme.

You can find second-hand products on various websites nowadays including eBay and Gumtree, but if you want everything in one place, head over to I suppose you could call them a second-hand broker! They have an extensive website filled with products from beds to kitchen appliances to clothing. If you're after an easy way to find a bargain, Secondwow is the place to be.

You can find a vast array of products from various websites on there and it will take you straight there to save you spending time browsing different websites. This is great for anyone who wants to update their home on a budget, a first time buyer, or someone who is after something a little bit unique that you may not be able to find in store anymore.

My favourite is the collectables section where you can find all sorts of hidden gems like classic artwork, fancy pottery pieces and signed memorabilia.

Magazines. These days, anything that you want from a magazine can usually be found somewhere online for free. However, if you still like to have something physical to hold and flick through, make the most of free magazines. For food inspiration, pick up a Tesco Food magazine. They are always jam-packed with recipes, not to mention sections on fitness and health as well. For home inspiration, pretty much every kitchen/bathroom/bedroom showroom has their own catalogue bursting full of ideas. If you're a Superdrug beauty card holder or a Boots beauty card holder (both are free to join), you can pick up their beauty magazines for free as well.

 What are your top tops for being thrifty?

*This is a sponsored post.
All opinions are my own.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Happy Things #7

Autumn. My favourite season. Whilst everyone at work is complaining about how cold it is, I am (not so) secretly loving this season. It's cold enough to snuggle up in various layers, yet not cold enough to be shivering every time I step out of the front door. I love wrapping up warm and taking a walk out in the cold air, there is something exhilarating about a chilly walk. Plus, this is the perfect time to curl up on the sofa with a hot cup of peppermint tea!

Deliciously Ella Oat Bars. I didn't even know that Ella had released these until I saw them in Tesco a few days ago. I love flapjacks but I don't really eat them anymore as they're full of butter and sugar so I was very happy to see these in store. These oat bars and natural, gluten-free, and vegan-friendly. Definitely a much healthier alternative to your standard flapjack and they taste incredible too.

Poweradd portable battery

Portable mobile charger. I never thought I would be someone who would need one of these but, low and behold, here we are. Last Saturday, my phone battery completely drained and I found myself at a bit of a loss as I was out and about and needed to use my phone to contact a friend. So, as soon as I got back, the first thing I did was order myself one of these and I carry it with me everywhere.

I hope you've all had a wonderful week!

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Sweet Dreams - Your Guide To A Better Night's Sleep

As someone who works long hours, I know all too well the feeling of waking up at silly-o-clock in the morning, feeling groggy and totally unprepared for the morning ahead, only to find that I still can't fall asleep at a decent hour after the day is done and so the cycle begins again. Only recently have I begun to make small changes to get my body clock working with me rather than against me and I have never felt more refreshed and awake, even if it's 5-o-clock in the morning!

Switch off an hour before bed. Stay away from electronic devices an hour before bed. The light exposure makes your body think it needs to be awake and it just makes it that little bit harder to drop off. So no scrolling through your social media feeds in bed, and your emails can wait until the morning.

De-clutter your bedroom. When your sleeping space is clean and minimal, your mind will feel de-cluttered too. Trust me, it is a nightmare trying to wind down in messy room. Associate your bedroom with sleep and relaxation, not with clutter and work.

Get into a routine. Your body is smart enough to adapt to a routine, but not if you have a new routine every day. Aim to sleep at the same time every day and wake up at the same time, even at the weekend! That lie-in or "catch-up" sleep can make you feel more groggy the following day.

Get a dawn simulator clock. Nothing wakes you up as beautifully as a nice sunrise. Unfortunately, the real thing is scarce, especially if you're getting up very early in the morning so the next best thing is to get yourself a simulated one. Experts say that a gradual brightness can help to wake up in the morning and reduce that groggy feeling. In the same way that you wake up gradually when you've got the day off work, a dawn simulator clock will produce similar effects to slowly awaken you from your beauty sleep. Lumie and Phillips are probably the big players in this field and I know that most of my friends have a love for one or the other.

So how do they work? The gradual brightness of a dawn simulator helps to increase cortisol and reduce those sleep hormones, as opposed to being woken up by an alarm in the darkness (or in sudden sharp light). People also say that it helps them feel a lot more productive and alert throughout the day. I, for one, know that it's a so difficult to get up super early in the morning with my alarm buzzing in my ear as it pretty much shocks you into waking up. With a dawn simulator clock, imagine being gently coaxed out of your dreams!  And for those minimilists out there, getting a dawn simulator clock means that you get both an alarm clock and a bedside lamp all in one!

What are your tips for a good night's sleep?

*Sponsored post. This post has been written in collaboration with Sunrise Clocks but, as always, all content and opinions are my own.