Wednesday, 26 October 2016

RECENT READS #1

Reading is one of my favourite ways to spend my time. I've always loved getting completely engrossed in a good book. I will often read countless books over the summer months however when I return to uni, it takes a backseat as the deadlines take over.
There's still been a couple of good'uns lately though that I wanted to share and hopefully I will be able to (or, at least attempt to) juggle fictional reading with my course textbooks to keep updating you in the future with the books I have been loving.

1. Behind Closed Doors
I downloaded this on my Kindle as it was a suggested read after I finished What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty. Between May and September I was commuting daily on public transport to my job so it gave me a good 30 minutes every day to read. 
I loved this book. The plot may be a little predictable at times yet it is also completely shocking. It kept me hooked but didn't confuse me, it was simple yet brilliant. This was a book of extremes and I would highly recommend it - many people have said if you liked The Girl on the Train, then you'll enjoy Behind Closed Doors - and I would definitely echo that. I do agree it isn't the best written book and for the most part, quite unbelievable in it's storyline. However, I didn't mind that at all in this instance.

2. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

I guess this is slightly cheating as I'm only just over half way through but boy is it good. J K Rowling, the woman can do no wrong. I was just so excited at the news of a new Harry Potter book, I didn't even realise it was a play script but I am really enjoying this aspect. I'm imagining how the stage looks and how the actors are performing their lines. I just wish I had more time to read because it would be done and dusted in a matter of hours.

3. Lonely Planet

I got this little book for my birthday as I plan on doing a little travel adventure next summer after university. I've enjoyed just flicking through this on my odd essay break, there's definitely some useful tips and tricks that I'll be using when planning my trip. I absolutely love Lonely Planet books and it would make a perfect present for any travel enthusiast. 

I hope you enjoyed this post. What have you been reading recently? I'd love to hear your book recommendations!

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

BIRCHBOX REVIEW | 3 Month Subscription

For my 22nd birthday I was gifted a 3 Month Subscription to Birchbox by my boyfriend, having now received my third and final box and tested the majority of the products, I thought I'd share my review on the brand for others considering signing up to this luxury beauty service.

The first box that got sent my way was the August 'Dive in Birchbag' which included five products plus an extra full-size make up product and exclusive scuba Birchbag.
The products I received were the Balance Me Radiance Face Mask, the Philip Kingsley One More Day Dry Shampoo, the Yes To Coconut Hydrating Cleansing Wipes, Anatomicals Smoother Butts Love Coconuts Coconut and Mango Body Lotion, the Rituals Hammam Body Mud and the Marcelle Waterproof Eyeliner in Mulberry.

Three of the six products stood out to me from August, the Anatomicals Coconut Body Lotion, the Philip Kingsley Dry Shampoo and the Marcelle Eyeliner. I am yet to try the Rituals Body Mud but if it is of the same quality as the other products, it should be a really lovely item. 

Next up was the September 'Heroes' box which included five products, one of which was again a full-size makeup product. I had updated my profile before I was sent my September box in order to receive items that were picked for your skin, hair and preferences.



The products I received in September were the Polaar The Genuine Lapland Cream, the amika Bombshell Blowout Spray, the Jane Iredale Smooth Affair Facial Primer & Brightener, the NUXE Prodigieux Shower Oil and the ModelCo Highlighting Trio.


I have tried every product except the Lapland Cream however the product that really stood out immediately was the ModelCo Highlighter and it is my favourite of the month - purely for the highlighter shade, its gorgeous! I also like the blush shade however I wouldn't wear all three shades at once because of how shimmery they are. I also love the NUXE shower oil and the amika Blowout Spray, I've been using it as a heat protection spray before straightening/curling my hair however it also makes my hair super smooth and adds volume.

The final box *sobs* that turned up at my door was the October 'What's Your Sign?' box - unfortunately my birthday didn't seem to be registered in my profile so I received an 'Air' box rather than an 'Earth' box which was linked to my sign.

My 'Air' box included the Number 4 Fluoro5 Elixer Restore & Repair Oil, the Whish Renewing Mud Mask, the Doux Me Pure Spring Mist, the Aromotherapy Associates Body Gel, the Birchbox Eyebrow Brush and the free full-size makeup product which was the LOC One & Done Shadow Stick.


So far I have tried the Aromotherapy Associates Body Gel and the LOC One & Done Shadow Stick but I am also really excited to try the Number 4 Restore & Repair Oil and see how it compares to my Moroccan Oil. I would probably say this was my least favourite of all three boxes (my favourite being September's) however this may be purely because I haven't got round to trying the other items yet.

Overall, I absolutely loved having a little box full of amazing products delivered each month and whether it be a present for someone or a treat for yourself, it's a brilliant concept that would suit any beauty product enthusiast. I think if I weren't now back to uni and living off my student budget, I would have considered carrying on with Birchbox however I would definitely recommend to my friends and will most likely treat some of them to one for their birthday. 

For £10 per month (+ postage) I think it is value for money, however two out of the three months there was a budget/cheaper product included yet this didn't downgrade the quality or standard of the service, in my opinion. It's the perfect opportunity for people to try out and test expensive, luxury beauty products that they otherwise wouldn't be able to afford or splurging on a full-size item without knowing what it's like. I was also super impressed with the size of the products, I wouldn't call them samples or testers as you get a lot of product, often around 1/4 or 1/3 the size of the full-sized version.

Have you ever tried Birchbox? What do you think to the brand and service they offer?

Saturday, 17 September 2016

WHEN IN...Liverpool

I recently spent 24 hours in Liverpool to celebrate my 22nd birthday and the day was filled with the Beatles, food and viewpoints - here is my guide to spending one day in the city.

10am - The Beatles Story
Whilst it's probably possible to go to Liverpool and ignore all references to the Beatles - why would you do that? Liverpool completely embodies its music heritage and as someone who wanted to lap up this side to the city - this museum is a fantastic place to start. The design is awesome and it keeps you listening and reading the entire time. I knew a bit about the band but after my trip to the Beatles Story I fee I could have them as my Mastermind 'Specialist Subject' and be pretty confident of winning. 
Just make sure you put aside a good couple of hours - you'll get sucked into the history and not want to rush!

12:30pm - Tapas Lunch at Neon Jamon
This Spanish themed joint is one hell of a treat for the taste buds. The menu is so good you'll undoubtedly spend ages choosing what to have because you'll want it all. 
They have a really decent lunch offer of 2 tapas dishes for £9 on weekdays with a great selection off the main menu. Oh and if you happen to be lucky enough to catch Liverpool whilst the sun is out, grab a seat in the beer garden.
(Sorry for the pretty awful photo but I much prefer eating the food than taking photos of it!)

We ordered the calarmari, the spinach and pine nut dish and the Ox cheek and mash dish (which came out after the other two) and it was all so delicious! However, not that I ever thought I'd say this, but the spinach was by far the best, the flavours were insane - just make sure you have some gum for afterwards as boy, there was a lot of garlic!

2:30pm - Radio City Tower
Head back into the city centre and take a tour up the tallest building in Liverpool for panoramic views across the city and beyond.
This was a great way to really get your bearings, the staff let you take as long as you want and answer any questions you throw at them. 
Make your way around the glass tower with your little map and pin point all the sights you can see!

3:15pm - So many shops, so little time!
Liverpool has a strong reputation for its shopping and it was obvious why. It all looked ultra modern and really reminded me of Manchester in the way it's designed and laid out. 

5:30pm - Rooftop Bar (two words which were just meant to go together)
A city break is not complete without a trip to a rooftop bar in my humble opinion. Rooftop bars always seem to be secretive, they want you to hunt them down avoiding the world and his wife turning up. 'Goodness Gracious' is no different - there's no outside signs and nothing pointing you in the right direction, but it's all worth the little hunt to find it.
Overlooking the Liver Building, it had some impressive views but the design of the bar shouldn't be overlooked either. I loved the vivid pastel shades, the decking and the patterned cushions - all right up my street!

7:30pm - Wahaca
Now obviously, you don't have to go to Wahaca for your evening meal however if you've never tried it and you like Mexican, then actually, you do have to go. I'd only ever been to Wahaca once before and that was the one in Brixton last year and it instantly became my favourite Mexican restaurant so it was a no-brainer to go again in Liverpool.
The tapas theme from lunch ran into the evening as again I chose a couple of dishes, Quesadillas and Tacos to be exact, both were so yummy - topped off with a Margarita!

9:30pm - The Cavern
Finish the day the way you started it, with the Beatles. Pop along for a drink to the club where they performed over 300 times in three years and where Cilla Black worked the cloakroom. You'll have learnt loads about it in the museum in the morning and it makes it become real when you see it for yourself. They have live music so grab a drink and spend a while looking at all the memorabilia and perhaps sign your name on the wall (if you can find a space!)
I hope you enjoyed this guide to spending one day in Liverpool - what are your favourite spots in the city?

Thursday, 15 September 2016

10 THINGS | AUTUMN


September is an absolute beauty of a month. Not only does it kick off with my birthday but it marks the start of Autumn (and the nice bit, before the drizzly grey days appear). 

It's a magnificent time of year full of fresh starts, cosy nights and crisp mornings. I would skip January and February if I had the choice. That's the idea when I'm old anyway, go abroad for the first couple of months of the year and return at the start of spring - sold plan there, if you ask me. 

And let's just keep in mind that nothing is perfect. There are plenty of things I wish I could change about Autumn. Getting darker earlier, making it feel as though the end of the day is 5pm - errr no thank you. The dark mornings, surely we don't need it to be any harder getting out of bed when our alarms go off. Oh and the fading tan (well, less tan, more like a very slight shade darker) and freckles. 

But let's focus on the positives, because there are a ton of them.

I love it, I really do. However, I don't say it's my favourite season (when it probably is) purely because I can't make that big a decision. Once you've chosen your favourite season, there's no going back and lesson number one about me - I'm insanely indecisive.

(No, my flies were not undone, its just a rather unfortunate positioned leaf.)

Here are just 10 things I love about Autumn. I could go on (and on) but lets just keep it to 10.

1. The colours. Now don't get me wrong, who doesn't love a clear bright blue sky in summer? But the leaves, the trees, everything appears more saturated and vivid in Autumn.

2. The jumpers, the coats, the knitwear, the blankets, the fluffy socks. I actually feel happier just typing those words out.

3. The SCARVES. Yes they deserve capitalisation and their own number. As someone who believes they are cold blooded - cosiness is my bff.

4. Hot drinks. All day, everyday. I rarely drink coffee but in Autumn the spices reappear and there's no resisting their sweet sweet smells.

5. Halloween. I am a fan of Halloween, mainly the pumpkin carving competitions. However the uni version of Halloween definitely deserves a mention. Until you've dressed up in your normal night out gear with a bit of fake blood thrown about and black tights you've ripped up during pres when you've seen everyone else sporting a pair, you've not truly experienced Halloween. (I really think they need to warn people about the unavoidable stains left behind from fake blood. Never have there been so many students with red blotched faces than in the 9am lectures the morning after Halloween.)

6. Everything about real log fires.

7. The crunching leaves when you walk through parks.

8. The lead up to Christmas. Of course this includes Christmas markets and Winter Wonderlands - all that tacky commercialised amazingness.

9. The return of the slow cooker. How old are you, I hear you ask. 22 and I am not ashamed. 

10. Finally, probably the best of all. Firework Night/Bonfire Night/Guy Fawkes Day - whatever ya wanna call it. I want to start planning it now and we're only in mid September. I can't wait!


I hope you enjoyed this list of things I love about Autumn - let me know your favourite things about this time of year.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

ASOS WISHLIST | SEPTEMBER


Have I just had my birthday and received lots of lovely new things? Yes.
Am I just days from returning to uni and about to become a penniless student again? Yes.
Should I be browsing the Asos 'New in' section at the moment? No. 
Do I listen to any of these thoughts? Definitely not.

BUT JUST LOOK AT ALL THE BEAUTIFUL CLOTHES. This is my justification for my constant obsession with Asos. I just love it. 

I know I will never own all these bits and I don't need them all but a girl can dream.


I am really looking forward to dressing for Autumn, the chunky scarfs and winter boots are my favourites but these 12 pieces have really caught my eye recently. 

I love the New Look Belted Coat and Rust Cord Jacket, they would make the most perfect smart and casual Autumn jacket items. The basic knitwear pieces are super cute and I could really do with a new pair of jeans so I'm tempted by these Ridley ones. I adore the look of the Millie Mackintosh dress and the ASOS culottes and could be lovely transitional pieces. I could really do with a new pair of trainers and I've heard nothing but good things about the Nike Roshe ones, how comfy would they be for long days in the library too?!

What do you think to these items? What's your favourite fashion item for Autumn? Let me know in the comments!

MY (ever-changing) TRAVEL BUCKET LIST

I’ve had either a mental or written travel bucket list for a looong time now. During my teenage years, it was just places I dreamt about visiting but more recently its turned into a neatly written list with places and countries I just have to visit.



I love talking about travelling. Honestly, if you want to have a conversation with me, just talk to me about places you want to visit and you will have my undivided attention.

I caught the travel bug at a young age. I was fortunate that my parents not only wanted to continue visiting the places they dreamt about once they had children but also give us incredible experiences we would remember forever. From New York to Barbados to South Africa - I was used to long-haul flights quite young!

This ambition to visit as many different places as possible has stuck with me. Holiday planning is one of my favourite things to do. I find city breaks so incredibly exciting and make sure I pack in as much as possible every time.


Image source - Me!

I’m planning a month long (approximately) trip to South East Asia for next summer, once I’ve finished uni. However, of course there are just SO many other parts of the world I can’t wait to explore. Here’s my (current – it’s always expanding!) travel bucket list.

1. Canada
2. US West Coast (in particular San Francisco)
3. Greek Islands
4. South America
5. Prague
6. Australia
7. Dubrovnik
8. Berlin
9. New Zealand
10. Copenhagen 


So there we have it. The list of places I dream about flying off to the most.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Do you have a travel bucket list? If you could hop on a place tomorrow, where would you go?


If anyone has been to any of the above places and has any stories to tell or recommendations, please leave a comment below – I’d love to hear them!

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

WHEN IN...Cornwall


Yes I know what you're probably thinking. "Cornwall? Seriously? How boring."

Well let's just stop right there.

Get rid of all your pre-conceived perceptions. 

I've just got back from spending a week in North Cornwall and it was bloody amazing! And I will tell you why...

1) Cornish. Pasties. Enough said.

2) Beaches. Loads of them. Tons. And not crappy "English" beaches but actual golden sand and turquoise sea beaches. Basically the complete opposite of Skeggy.

3) Cream teas. Whoever invented the combination of scones, clotted cream, jam and endless cups of tea is a genius in my eyes. Hello clogged arteries.

Yes 2 out of the 3 may be food and there ain't nothing wrong with that. 

But boy, there's so much more to this little gem of a county than just those little beauties.

These are just a few things you MUST do if you fancy yourself a UK getaway.

TRY SURFING
I have had 'Give surfing a go' on my bucket list for years and years and years so when the opportunity arose to book a lesson during my Cornwall holiday I just had to do it. I had a 2 hour lesson in Polzeath and it was the most EXHAUSTING 2 hours of my life (but also an insane amount of fun!) Donning my hired wetsuit and dragging a battered surf board towards the frickin' freezing sea, I didn't quite give off the whole cool, 90210 vibes I hoped to. I must say though, the few seconds I actually managed to "ride a wave" felt pretty darn awesome.



TRAVEL TO PADSTOW ON THE FERRY
Padstow is such a quaint little town with seaside shops and countless cafes lining its streets. There's quite a bit to do in such a small place and will undoubtedly be completely packed with tourists. This was where I experienced an ENORMOUS seagull nick the last mouthful of my pasty straight out of my hand, pesky birds *shakes fist*



VISIT DOC-MARTIN LAND (A.K.A PORT ISAAC)
Even if you've just caught snippets of the odd episode, the town is full of locations from the TV show including the doc's office, the pharmacy and the restaurant. Grab a Cornish ice-cream or pick up some lunch from the chippie and head down to the harbour for a seaside lunch spot. Oh and fish market should not be missed, the lemon sole is to die for!

DO A COASTAL WALK
Easy-moderate they said. There was nothing easy or moderate about this walk but the views, oh the views. They were superb. Allow a good three or four hours, start at Port Quin and trek along the coastal path to Port Isaac. Finish in the pub for a well earned Cornish cider. (Oh and do not attempt this walk in Summer whilst wearing skinny jeans - just a little warning for you there.)



VISIT NEWQUAY
Yes, Newquay is touristy and more commercialised than the rest of North Cornwall. However if you want a day with a bit more hustle and bustle or fancy going for a few evening drinks, then perhaps give Newquay a visit. With cafes, shops and bars aplenty, there's bound to be a good night to be had in Newquay. If you fancy spending some time on the sand, don't miss Fistral Beach - the location of Boardmasters - Europe's largest surf and skate festival. It's also considered one of the best places in Europe for surfing!
(Just be prepared for quite a few rowdy stag do's, especially if you're visiting at the weekend.)

WITNESS A SUNSET
Where better to catch a summer sunset than in the middle of the countryside on the coast. The golden glow just had to be enjoyed and captured, it's not often living in the middle of a city, that you get to see such natural beauty.



I immensely enjoyed our week in Cornwall, visiting a different little coastal town each day and just exploring the local ports and harbours. England really can be magnificent, sometimes!

However, it's left me wanting to live near a beach and for it to be acceptable to eat your body weight in Cornish pasties every day of the year. 

As much as I love holidays and travelling abroad, I must explore more of the UK because we have some real gems, right on our doorstep. 

I hope you enjoyed this round-up of my recent trip to Cornwall. Have you ever visited Cornwall? Where are some of your favourite places in the UK to visit? I love planning little weekend getaways so throw your recommendations this way!

Thursday, 18 August 2016

TIME TO BITE THE BULLET...


So here goes.

Time to finally bite the bullet and enter the 'blogosphere'.


After years of  reading countless, amazing blogs and following their progression and success, I want a go. I mean, why not? Blogging revolves around writing, photography, design and any topics that take your fancy - it sounds ace.


However, being the perfectionist I am, I know I am only going to be happy with constant, amazing quality so I'm already setting myself a pretty tough task. But let's have a stab at it and see what happens.


So if anyone out there happens to stumble across this post (miracles happen, right??) then stick around, hopefully (if real life can make time for it) there will be some more posts up real soon. I love love love travel so there's bound to be plenty of that kinda thang, along with some of my other little obsessions including interiors, fashion, beauty, baking and music. Sound good? I hope so because I am super excited about developing this little space of the internet into a personalised retreat I can come to to escape after a day at my rather dull 9-5 job. 


Also, we all love a follow on Instagram don't we, so nip on over and have a little scroll...ta!


I guess that's it for now. Leave a comment below if you enjoyed this introductory post or if you've just started a blog. I'm always looking for new blogs to sit down with a cuppa and spend 15 minutes reading about this and that.


Right, time to get posting!



Currently listening to: Smashed Pianos - Blossoms