Saturday, 14 October 2017

What I've Learnt From Moving Out

Hello lovelies!

Can you believe I moved out of my parent's house on 13th April, that's over 6 months ago! Time really does fly. It feels like we've been in our little flat for ages, but at the same time, not that long at all. We are currently half way through our tenancy, then we have to decide whether to stay another year or move out. James & I are still discussing this & the we quite like the idea of getting a bigger place, so we'll have to see how we're feeling after Christmas.

I wanted to share with you a few things that I've learnt over the past few months since moving out.


It's expensive
Ok, so I had a rough idea of how much renting would be. I'd budgeted, done the maths of the rent, bills, food & living etc, but I never expected it to feel so.. annoying! Gone are the days where I used to be able to browse ASOS & add multiple things to my basket, where as now I have to ration myself in Primark to one jumper per visit & only pick up essentials when I'm literally scraping the barrel. It's a whole new ball game, but one I'm managing to keep on top of, I just would love to go out & buy ALL THE CLOTHES.

Vouchers / coupons / loyalty cards are your friends
A while ago, I sat down with Elisa (who is the master of finding deals & bargains!) & we went through all her store cards that are free & that can save you money. A lot I already had, such as a Boots Advantage Card, Tesco Clubcard & multiple coffee shop cards, however when your starting to make your space your own, having an Ikea Family Card was one of the best deals we found! You get discounts on sale items, food & on selected products. Not to mention free tea & coffee when you shop! I also got a Waitrose Card, which (to be honest, I rarely shop there, but still) means you get a free tea or coffee when you buy groceries & scan your card at the till. Makes popping to get milk a little bit more enjoyable! & finally a Nectar Card. I've never had one of these because we always shop in Tesco as a rule, but since we do have a Sainsbury's in town, it was worth getting. However, the best part of a Nectar Card is you can link it up to eBay & earn points by purchasing items on there! So I already have a nice stack of points building up just from buying random bits & pieces each month! 

You have no free time
This may sound like a silly one, but have you noticed how little I've posted since the beginning of April? It's because I literally have no time. I'm sure this is just something I've managed to do to myself, but if I'm sitting on the sofa & I spy a cobweb or something needs dusting, I have to sort it then & there! & sure enough, once I've finished cleaning every room, it all needs doing again! I barely manage to do anything other than work, clean & think about cleaning..

You do adult things, because nobody is going to do them for you
Yup. It's true. Mum is no longer going to 'drop that to the post office for you' as it's on the way to town. Your going to have to go to the post office yourself. Your going to have to ring your agency because your freezer door won't shut properly. Your going to have to do the Tesco shop with one of the scary trolleys that don't turn corners every week. I don't like having adult responsibilities.

You don't take anything for granted
When I was writing out points for this blog post, one of the first things I wrote was 'dishwasher withdrawal symptoms' & it's true. I think we get used to having all these luxuries when in fact when we move out, we're almost starting from the bottom & working ourselves up again. I don't mind doing the washing up, however I would like to put my feet up for 20minutes as opposed to standing looking at a wall while cleaning the pots & pans.

You build stronger relationships
Most of you know, I moved in with my partner James & even though we've been together nearly 5 years, we've never lived together before. Obviously this has affected our relationship, but it's made us appreciate the other one a lot more. I actually love the feeling of coming home to him at night, when he's hopefully got the dinner started (he finishes work at 6pm, I'm usually 8.30pm) & just knowing he's there is such a nice feeling. I'm kinda hoping he feels the same, when he comes home from work & I've spent the day cleaning / tidying & I'm there to jump on him as I've missed him all day. I also wanted to mention my relationship with my family as well. Moving out has definitely brought me closer to my mum in many ways. As I've mentioned above, I've been doing things I wouldn't usually do, but that doesn't mean she hasn't been there every step of the way, holding my hand if needed. I find when we do see each other (usually twice a week) we have a lot more to catch up on & it's nice to visit my doggies & have a cup of tea & cake with her.

& finally, I just wanted to write about why I decided to blog about this. At the end of September, my parents went on holiday for a couple of days, so I stayed over at my old house, with Honey & looked after the chickens. While I was there, I was totally happy don't get me wrong, but I knew I wasn't home. I was thinking about the flat & if James had remembered to put on the washing (he had, yay!) & all the bits I needed to do there. I was missing it & it felt weird to get into my 'old bed' as opposed to our one at home. Of course, my parent's house will always be special to me, however, I'm so overwhelmed by how much I missed our flat, it made me really happy to know that we made the right choice to move out when we did & that the place is extremely special to me.

Spreadsheets & budgeting really do pay off!

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Life Lately #135


Hello lovelies,

I mentioned in my last update post that I was staying at my parent's house looking after the animals. Just look how adorable Honey looks snuggled up in bed. I thought she would be getting me up at the crack of dawn, but I actually had to wake her up! The chickens were so cute as well, they all lined up in the morning for their food & went to bed obediently at night.

Charlotte organised a late birthday celebration for the 4 of us in London at the end of September. I'm going to write a full blog post on our day, so won't talk to much about it now, but we had such an amazing day. I was the only one (bar Char obv!) who knew what we were doing & it was so much fun giving the girls clues through-out the day! We visited The Shard, Choccywoccydoodah & saw The Comedy About A Bank Robbery in the evening!

Last week, we had a launch night at work for the Year Of Culture that's coming in 2019. It was so beautiful, we got out the red purple carpet & had lanturns all around the foyer. People came from all over the District to watch the launch & it truly made the building feel magical.

I met up with my girly Ricka for brunch at Bills last weekend for a catch up. We hadn't properly seen each other since the middle of May, so we had so much to talk about. 

The girls & I went to see Home Again last week & I haven't enjoyed / cringed at a film for so long! Reece Witherspoon is fantastic as always & the 'young boys' were brilliant as well. Highly reccomend it for a girls night out.

Saturday night I spent with my Grandparents. We had a family meal at their house to celebrate my parent's wedding anniversary in September (they were away at the time) so we had a long over-due catch up, was so lovely.

& finally Char came back for the weekend, so we arranged to meet up with our other friend Shez for a roast. There is nothing better than a roast dinner on a Sunday. Since moving out, James & I haven't yet cooked a roast, but that's made it seem like more of a treat when we do have it, either round parent's houses or out & about.

How has October been for you lovelies? 
Getting excited for Halloween? I've already planned my outfit!

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Our Adventure To The New Forest

Hello lovelies!

In the middle of September, James & I took a short break to The New Forest. We rented a lodge, called Forest Lodge in Ringwood. We found it using a website called cottages4you, which I only discovered as I wanted to use our Tesco Clubcard points & that was one of the websites listed. They have tons of holiday places on there, so worth checking out if you're looking for a short break.

We set off late on Friday morning, stopping at KFC for lunch (our guilty pleasure) & our first stop was the Bolderwood Deer Sanctuary. It was raining when we arrived, so we weren't very hopeful we'd see any deer, but sure enough, we found a herd just by the entrance. They are the cutest little things, with swishing tails & spotty backs! We had a walk around the forest paths as it had stopped raining & found the cutest birds, including this adorable little robin. A lot of people seemed to have been put off by the weather, so it was extremely peaceful & quiet.





After our walk, we headed to Tesco, to stock up on some meals for the evenings, as it was a self-catering accommodation. We could check into our lodge from 3pm, so we arrived just after 4, before the heavy rain started! We met a few wild animals on the way, including horses, pigs, cows & donkeys. One of the donkeys stuck her head in James' window & just refused to move, even when another car came in the other direction & had to drive into the ditch to avoid hitting it's bottom! I just love that the New Forest gives animals right of way.. amazing!





Ah guys, just look at our lodge. Isn't it the cutest place you've ever seen? I was so in love with it. It was so cosy & warm & there was nothing better than being snuggled up with a blanket, watching tv. We didn't realise before we got there, but there wasn't any phone signal & the wifi wasn't working so we were completely shut off from the outside world & it was bliss. We played a few games of Scrabble, Ludo & Monopoly & just enjoyed each other's company. The owners had kindly left us milk, chocolates & a bottle of champagne, which was so lovely of them, so we made sure to make use of the gifts! The lodge itself is about 100metres from their house, slightly higher up, next to a field of horses. They had 3 horses; Fletcher, Maverick & Marmite, who we'd see when we left each morning for our days out. We also had a resident owl who you could hear when you were drifting off to sleep at night. Otherwise, it was completely silent.






Saturday was our first full day & we decided to head to Bournemouth. I'd checked the weather & it said it was going to be bright in the morning but rain in the afternoon, so we had an early session of crazy golf in Lower Gardens, followed by a walk near the beach, lunch in Days & then we visited the aquarium in the afternoon. I can't get over how beautiful Lower Gardens was. We had a walk around after playing golf & found a small aviary of birds & there were people singing & performing around the park. It was honestly so lovely. The beach itself is incredibly sandy & pretty, just look at the clouds!







& I'll be honest, the aquarium wasn't our favourite. We paid just under £13 each for entry & we'd finished the tour within an hour. Didn't really seem worth it, except I got to see my favourites; the seahorses & I got some stunning shots of the turtles!





After we left the aquarium, it was pouring with rain, so we thought we'd go on the pier to hide in the arcades, but there was a charge for the pier. I mean, we live near Brighton & I don't know if we've been spoilt all our lives, but it's free to walk up & down the pier, so we were outraged to have to pay! We did however realise there was an arcade before you got on the pier, so we dived in that one instead. James won me the cutest dog!


The next day we headed to Poole. I was quite excited to have a walk along the Quays as it was a dry, but chilly day. It was so lovely there & we met lots of cute doggies as we walked into Poole. We had lunch at Pizza Express & then headed to the Dolphin Centre for a spot of shopping.





Unfortunately we had to leave the following day, as check out was 10am, so we packed up our bags & headed home. Saying goodbye to our little lodge felt extremely sad, we'd really come to think of it as a second home.

I would honestly go back to The New Forest in a heartbeat, it was all so perfect & I feel like we could have explored for weeks, there was just so much to see & do!

Have you ever been to The New Forest?

Friday, 29 September 2017

Blouse You



Ok, so anyone else obsessed with blouses right now?

I just can't get enough of them. The more ruffles, flared sleeves & bows the better!

These are just a few I've found while scouring the internet. My favourites have to be the baby blue & polka dot one, both from H&M. I'm on a strict budget at the moment, but I was so tempted to go & find them both in store! The burgundy one from New Look is also great value for a simple staple Autumn piece.

I tend to style my blouses with black skinny jeans or body-con skirts & knee-high boots for an evening look, or go casual with converse & jeans during the day. They also look especially cool with a fedora if it isn't too windy! 

I wore my new blouse from Primark (which I've searched the internet for & can't find) but here's me wearing it on a day trip to London with the girls & it got so many compliments!

A girl can never have too many blouses in her life.

Let me know if you'd like a post about the blouses I own & see how I style them for Autumn.

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Monday, 25 September 2017

Lanzarote 2017

Hello lovelies! 

So, we're at the end of September, sorry what!? Where has this year gone.. I can't actually believe October is nearly upon us & Christmas cards are in the shops. not that I've started buying presents or anything..

I was meant to write up this post about a month ago, but you know, life again, has got in the way. I feel like I say this most times I start a blog post, but it's so true. There's always so much to do when you're an adult. Anyways, let's take a trip back to my Summer holiday & pretend I'm not sitting here with my 'Winter Glow' candle & heating on, shall we?

If you were a follower of my blog last year, you'll remember Cathy & I went on holiday to Lanzarote & stayed in the Coronas Playa hotel. So this year, when we were deciding where to go away, we couldn't think of anywhere else we'd rather be, so we went back! Our best friend Boop also came along for the ride ; D


Like I mentioned, Cathy & I had already been last year, so I'm going to leave a link to last year's blog post here for you to have a read all about the hotel & entertainment side & just post a few special pictures from our holiday in this post.




This was the view from our room over the relaxation pool. They have an activity pool to the left, which is where we chose to sit. They do a full day of games & have music playing from 10.30am to get the day started.


This is the view from the hotel to the beach. It was quite literally on our door step!


One of the resident turtles.




We decided to go down to the beach one afternoon with the inflatables (doughnut & Sally the flamingo) FYI I got sand in places I never want to get sand in again.





The evenings were fun, we'd always get dressed up (except one night where we came back to the room & played games & ate chocolate!) & go to dinner, before heading to the Pavillion for the evening quiz & live entertainment. Same as last year, we had completely varied acts, including some circus performers, a comedian (who was extremely inappropriate & cringey!) & even our reps performed in a talent show.


Thankyou girls for the most amazing holiday, let's not wait another 10+ years for the next one!

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Thursday, 21 September 2017

Life Lately #134


It seems like an eternity ago now, but we went to watch banger racing on Bank Holiday Monday! It was so so so hot, I think the hottest Bank Holiday we've had on record. We were out in the sun the whole day, watching the cars race around the track. I was the only one that had been before, so it was great to watch everyone's reactions to the racing. (especially yours Jules!)

Oh, now how cute is little Maggie? My mum is looking after her a few times a week for a friend while they are working in London & I met her at the beginning of September. She is such a character, she's in to everything!

Look at these two. Aren't they just the cutest things? We had a girls night while all the boys hit the town & the evening was filled with baby cuddles, Say Yes To The Dress & pizza. 

Jigsaw puzzles. How under-rated are they? Seriously. Ever since I bought one for Elisa for her birthday, I've wanted to complete my own one. The Works had a 20% off sale a few weeks back, so I picked this one up for James & I to play. We're only half way through as it's so difficult, but so much fun!

Char finally came home for Nandos, yay! I'm kinda hoping she came home to see us, but really I know it was for the chicken.. haha! She's been away in Edinburgh for what's seemed like forever, so it was lovely to have a catch up over a bite to eat in town. 

Last weekend, James & I went to the New Forest for a couple of days. It was the perfect holiday for us, filled with animals, food & a cosy log cabin in the middle of nowhere. I'm going to write up a full post on our trip, so I won't go on about it to much now, but it really was the most lovely break away.

This week, the boys have been playing their annual golf tournament, so I decided to cook for them & Maria on Tuesday night. I was extremely proud as every plate was cleared! I made a lamb with orzo dish, with hot crusty bread & we had nuts & crisps for starter & a strawberry cheesecake for pudding. (Thanks Tesco!) Btw, would you guys be interested in me doing a 'what we eat in a week' series on my blog? I've seen quite a few YouTubers doing them recently & find them so interesting to watch. 

& finally, I'm currently staying at my parent's house, looking after Honey. They have gone away on holiday for their anniversary, so it's just the 2 of us (until James comes round for dinners in the evenings) & it's given me so much time to just sit & blog & edit all the footage I have from days out / holidays over the past few months! Expect a few more blog posts & videos over the next few weeks!

How has September been for you lovelies? Are you all set for Autumn? 

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Monday, 11 September 2017

What I've Been Wearing On My Nails #42


Fearne Cotton - Burnt Out
I was wearing this back in June, but I'm tempted to get it back out again for Autumn. It's the perfect shade to wear with dark greens & reds at this time of year.

Leighton Denny - Coral Reef
One of my favourite shades! I swear I say this in almost all my nail art posts but it's true! This colour has lived on my toe nails this Summer.

Orly - Harmonious Mess
Ah again another of my favs. The perfect blue for a warm sunny day.

Barry M - Gold
& my latest nail polish of choice. I'm not a massive fan of wearing bright oranges on my nails, but love golds or darker oranges & this one is simply stunning.

What have you been wearing on your nails this month?

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Tuesday, 5 September 2017

July & August Favourites


"Go-Pro"
Ok, so this isn't an actual go-pro. It's a replica I purchased off Groupon about a year ago, but seriously, it's perfect for what I wanted it for. I took it on holiday to Lanzarote & got some brilliant underwater shots & the wide angle lens is perfect for capturing those long sandy beaches. I couldn't be more pleased with it. (Keep an eye out for a Lanzarote vlog soon that was filmed using this camera!) 

Revlon Foundation
I've been using this foundation for a couple of months now & am so pleased with how flawless my skins looks when I use it. I usually mix it in with the Youth Lift Glow-Plexion & it creates the most beautiful texture on my skin. I can't recommend it enough.

Studio 10 Youth Lift Glow Plexion 
This has to be my favourite product I've tried in a long time. My mum got a free beauty box when she ordered over a certain amount with M&S & this was one of the products. It's an all-in-one primer, radiance creme, illuminator & highlighter.

Heat Protect Spray
I actually picked this up when I went into Boots to replace my VO5 heat protect spray, but this one caught my eye. It's almost £2 cheaper & smelt incredible. I'm totally converted. I've used it a few times on my hair so far & it's helped tame the frizz as well as protect my hair against my dryer & straighteners.

Dachshund Stationary
Ok, so I've always been obsessed with stationary & making notes, but since I've found these adorable Dachshund notepads / sticky notes in The Works, I've become even more obsessed. And of course, the best part is they are covered in dogs! What more could you want.

Matte Lip Crayon
This is my absolute favourite lipstick at the moment. I have the shade Raspberry Wine & it's the perfect dusky pink that seems to compliment every outfit. I wore it every night on holiday & most days at work. Even though it's quite a matte shade, it's also incredibly moisurising.

Kindle
I have a continuous love affair with books. The only problem is, I never find time to read them. I only ever tend to read when I'm on holiday, so Lanzarote was a perfect excuse to blow the dust off my kindle!

Music 

Britney Spears
Ever since Erin did a poll on Twitter to find the best Britney song, I've been obsessed with listening to all her tunes. Yes I blame you girly ; ) There were so many amazing songs that I'd forgotten about, it was the best trip down memory lane.

Disney
This past month I've found myself sitting there not knowing what to play on my ipod & everytime going back to the same playlist, Disney. It's perfect for lifting my mood, or for just putting on while I'm doing the house work.

Events

All my friends came together for my annual Summer BBQ, which was incredible. It's always one of my favourite days of the year.

I got a new car! I've had Connie just over a month now & I can't wait to have lots of adventures with her.

James & I visited The Harry Potter Studios in London. I absolutely loved the whole experience, I'd definitely go again!

& finally, I went on holiday to Lanzarote with my girls! There will be a full post coming soon but I can safely say it was a massive highlight of this year so far!

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Sunday, 27 August 2017

Life Lately #133


There are so many birthdays in August. This has been a month of celebrations & food! We went for an all-you-can-eat breakfast at The Beefeater to celebrate Cathy turning 26 at the beginning of August. She has now caught up with me. Not long till we're in our 30's girl..

Ah, our holiday to Lanzarote! There is a full post coming soon, now I've finally managed to sort through all the photos! I seriously can't thank the girls enough for our time away, it was exactly what I needed.

Oh look at my little one. I missed her so much when I was away, but I got to see her last Monday when my parents invited us round for a BBQ & a catchup. She looks so adorable with her teddy.

Tuesday morning, Elisa & Lily took me to Fun Splash. There were so many cute babies there!

On Thursday, it was Elisa's birthday. Now as you guys know, I'm big on birthdays, so when someone decides to work on their birthday & doesn't have any plans, what do I do? I make plans! I bought her a massive balloon, (no joke, it seriously was massive) & we had a 'present per hour' rule at work. I also got all the girlies together on Friday night for a meal at a lovely Italian restaurant in our local town, followed by a chocolate cake of dreams. It was so lovely spoiling her : )

& finally, bank holiday weekend is finally here! For once, I have Monday off! The plan is to go watch banger racing with my family & friends. I've just got to get through work today & then a day off is exactly what I need!

What are your plans for this weekend?

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Saturday, 5 August 2017

Life Lately #132


Wow, this seems like ages ago now, but we had our annual Summer BBQ at my grandparent's house back at the beginning of July. We've done it for the past four years & we have a day of playing games & eating lots of food. It's so much fun & we were so lucky with the weather. There were two short showers, but otherwise, it was dry & sunny.

July was also the month I got my new car! This is Connie the convertible. Isn't she cute? We've already had some exciting drives with the roof down. (Not as much as I'd like, we are in England after all..)

James also got a job promotion! He is now assistant manager at the kennels he works at. I'm so proud of him as he's only been in the job since March, so he's really thriving in his new role. We went out for dinner to celebrate with his family, which was lovely.

At the end of July, James & I finally got to go to The Harry Potter Studios! It was such a fun day, I've written a full post on it if you'd like to have a read

Oh & did any of you watch Love Island?! The girls & I all got together to watch the final round Elisa's. Did you agree with the winners? We were all seriously obsessed.

Last Sunday we had brunch at Bills as Cathy had two of her friends from uni visiting. It was so nice to see them & get all the girls together.

& finally, Thursday I met up for lunch with Cathy, Gem & Alice to do some last minute shopping. We have so many birthdays in August, it's been a bit manic organising all the presents in time! Luckily I managed to get the last few bits in town today.

Oh & I go on holiday on Tuesday! I'm so excited. Cathy, Boop & I are jetting off to Lanzarote & we actually can't wait. I will hopefully vlog while we're away, so keep an eye out for that!

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Harry Potter - Warner Brother's Studio Tour

Hello lovelies,

For Christmas, James & I received two tickets to the Harry Potter Studios Tour from my parents & we finally got to go last weekend. You have to book about 4 months in advance for a tour slot, so we decided to go for 12pm on Sunday 23rd July. We luckily don't live that far away from Watford, about an hour & 20 minute drive so we set off in my new car (more about Connie the convertible in my next post!)


You have to arrive ideally about half an hour before your time slot, we accounted for traffic & arrived nearly an hour before, but it meant we were able to get some refreshments & take a few pictures in the lobby. You also have access to the gift shop, so if you do arrive early, there is plenty to look at.

 As you begin the tour, you are taken into The Great Hall. It looked exactly like it did in the movies!

The Great Hall

Professor McGonagall, Dumbledore & Snape  


This was one of my favourite displays we saw.. a table full of chocolate! If only it was real..


We also loved the little rooms they had set up; the Gryffindor Common Room, Dumbledore's Office & the Weasley's Front Room were so beautifully arranged.

Gryffindor Common Room

Dumbledore's Office

Potions Classroom


The Weasley's House

We also got the chance to experience the Forbidden Forest which is a new addition to the studio tour this year. Oh & if your not the biggest fan of spiders.. just be careful.. you never know what might jump out at you..

Buckbeak

Onto one of my favourite parts, the Hogwarts Express! It was so beautiful. You come out of the forbidden forest & turn the corner & magically appear onto Kings Cross station. You can also walk through the train & see the different carriages from each movie. 

Hogwarts Express

The Knight Bus

We then stopped for lunch & tried a butterbeer, the cream on the top was delicious but I wasn't keen on the actual 'beer'. It just tasted like cold, fizzy butter. Extremely weird, but glad we tried it. You have the option to either bring your own food, or buy from the café which actually wasn't too expensive considering where we were.


Another favourite part of the tour for me was Diagon Alley. I loved looking at all the shops, especially Weasley's Wizard Wheezes!



& finally, they saved the best till last.. A huge model of Hogwarts that simply blew us away. The music was playing, the castle was lit up & the whole room felt so magical.. there really isn't anything I can write to describe just how incredible it was.

Hogwarts

Hogwarts

Hogwarts

Hogwarts

Hogwarts

The whole tour took about around three hours. That included our lunch & time in the gift shop at the end, but you never feel rushed & I loved that you could just potter around in your own time. 

Have you ever been to the Harry Potter studios?
I can't recommend it enough, it was honestly so much fun : )