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.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Homeware Lust List - October 2017

I'll admit that I used to be a bit of a shopaholic when it came to clothing but, nowadays, I'm a sucker for homeware. I can walk in and out of a clothing store in 10 seconds but I can easily spend hours browsing through stores like The Range, B&M and, of course, IKEA. So it's only fair if I share some of my favourite finds, right?

1. Malm Dressing Table (link here) - I have seen this all over Instagram and I'm totally in love with it. The crisp white finish with the glass top makes it look so elegant and clean. All it needs is a beautiful mirror above it!

2. Audrey Hollywood Mirror (link here) - No dressing table is complete without a stunning mirror, right? These light-up mirrors give that instant wow factor and they look so much nicer than the standard smaller mirrors to come attached to dressing tables.

3. Clam light (link here) - Yes, that's right, this is a rose gold clam light! I came across this on Instagram and fell in love with it. Do I need one? Probably not. Do I want one? Definitely!

4. Pineapple shaped glass jar (link here) - I love all things glass and I also love pineapples so this one is a no-brainer. This would look so pretty placed on a bedside table or above the fireplace.

5. Copper foil poster (link here) - I'm a massive fan of framed quotes as they can be so uplifting and it adds a little extra something to a room. I particularly like this one with it's copper foil and pink background, it makes a change from the slightly more mute prints that I see quite often.

6. Mansfield 2-seater sofa (link here) - There's something so simplistic and clean about the colour grey. This would look perfect with a few mustard coloured scatter cushions on it.

7. Vintage 16-piece cutlery set (link here) - I've always wanted to own a really fancy set of cutlery and these are just so beautiful. I love the intricate design on the handles and these would definitely look great for a nice fancy dinner or afternoon tea.

Do any of these take your fancy? Where do you like to shop for homeware?

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Happy Things #6

It's been a while so what better way to kick things off than with a Happy Things post?

National Trust

National Trust. I have recently renewed my National Trust membership and I'm so glad that I did. For those of you unfamiliar with the National Trust, they are a conservation organisation that looks after places of historic interest and natural beauty. They have hundreds of sites across the UK and I just love visiting them, especially on a sunny day when you can go on the most beautiful walks around the gardens. I currently have a young person's membership for those under the age of 26 which is £32.40 a year.

Candles from Tesco
Candles. When you find a candle that not only looks good but smells good too, you know you're onto a winner. I've only recently got into candles as I have a major phobia that I'll end up burning the house down but I make sure that as soon as I leave the room for more than 5 minutes, the candle is out! These two little pretty candles were on sale for just £1 each from Tesco! The first one is mango & papaya which smells so exotic and fruity. The second one is watermelon which smells much sweeter and good enough to eat. 

Kind bar

Kind Bars. These are so delicious! I wanted to stock up on some energy bars that I could easily chuck into my handbag to snack on if I ever find myself getting peckish, or just as a pre-workout snack. There are so many energy bars out there that contain near to around 30g of sugar in just one 50g bar! These are lower in sugar (4.5g per bar) and are packed full of protein. Plus, I'm a fan of nuts so these are perfect.

Looking to the future. I'm sure that I'll do a more reflective/soppy/mushy post towards the end of this year or the start of next but I'm really looking forward to the future at the moment. Sure, things aren't perfect but, this year, I feel like I'm really starting to learn more about myself and I feel like everything is slowly falling into place. I have so many good things coming up in my life and I can't wait to see what the future brings.....

What has made you happy recently?

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Review: Jewellery Box - 9ct Gold Flowers Pendant

Everyone loves a bit of jewellery, right? 

I was recently contacted by the people at Jewellery Box to review one of their beautiful pieces of jewellery. Jewellery Box specialises in beautiful real jewellery at costume jewellery prices. Who says that jewellery has to be expensive?

They offer a range of items including necklaces, charms, bracelets, and earrings. For those who love their rose gold pieces, they have an entire section devoted to this.

I was sent this beautiful crystal and rose gold necklace* and I couldn't be happier with it. The chain and the pendant outline itself are both 9ct yellow gold, whereas the pendant inner consists of a 2 rose gold flowers and 3 crystals. It is so delicate and intricate and I know it will be perfect for wearing out to dinner but subtle enough to wear on a day to day basis to work.

It came packaged in a brown box, tied up with brown string. Very old-school and very charming at the same time! It would be perfect as a gift for a loved for, or just as a treat for yourself of course!

If you're after affordable but beautiful fine jewellery, Jewellery Box is the place to go to.

Have you ever shopped at Jewellery Box? Let me know your favourite piece.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

A New Chapter + A Few Goals

Hello everyone. I have missed blogging so much but life has been super busy but I'm finally back (again). I can't wait to start dedicating a bit more time to my little corner of the web. So much has happened since I last blogged and I feel like a changed person. In the true spirit of a fresh start, I thought I'd share with you all a few of my goals for the next few months.

1) Get better at cooking. I love feeling fit and healthy. I enjoy exercise and I work out pretty much every day now but I am still learning about how best to nourish my body with food. I have a wonderful shelf full of healthy cook books that I have spent hours flicking through, but barely anytime actually creating any of it. 

2) Meet new people. I feel like I haven't spent much time getting out there recently and I'd love to meet more people and expand my social circle a bit more be it through blogging, attending more events, or signing up for classes that interest me.

3) Make the most of the weekends. I'll admit that I'm not very good at chilling out and relaxing so, what do I end up doing? Working. From now on, I'm going to find new places to go and new activities to try out and just generally enjoy more weekends a bit more.

4) Give more compliments. It's amazing how one compliment can brighten up someone's day. The best feeling of happiness is when you're happy because you've made someone else happy.

5) Strive towards a more simplistic lifestyle. Don't get me wrong, I won't be turning into a minimalist overnight but I'm inspired by minimilism and simplicity and I hope to replicate parts of that into both my lifestyle and my home. I love looking through Instagram to see all of these simplistic home decor ideas and clean lines.

I hope you've all enjoyed my returning post! Let me know what your goals are this year.