Friday, 30 December 2011

Adiós 2011 - Well, Hello There 2012.


Every year I look back. I can't help it.


So now I'm blogging about it. Predictable? Probably.


But nevertheless, to put it into one sentence: 2011 was the dogs cojones.

Personal goals were achieved, fun was had, new friends were made, I'm coming out of it with my health still in tact; what more can you really ask for?



Technically, I guess I started that journey in 2010, but it was completed May 2011. I flew home a changed, independent, more confident person and the rest of the year was a positive one from then on. 

I visited Seville, Malaga, Granada, Cordoba, Cadiz, Valencia, Madrid, Barcelona and Galicia all in the same year - adding another big tick to the 'places I want to visit in my life' list.




This moment essentially changed my life in respect to health & running. I started something I never thought I would like and/or enjoy, but I did - and I loved it. The ladies above are a force to be reckoned with, they helped and supported each other the entire way, and even though I couldn't run/walk by the time the Half came around, seeing them achieve their goals was the ultimate highlight. Because of that, me and a Half Marathon in Berlin have some unfinished business to attend to in 2012. 





  • I began blogging - 2011 was the year of the blog for me.


With being Featured on Freshly Pressed & Shortlisted for the Cosmopolitan Blog Awards, it really was a good year for this little fella *pats* I gained a lovely handful of readers, some of whom have stuck it out while I tried to find my feet & for that I am grateful.



  • Evans/Models1 - A path I never expected to go down in 2011; modelling.


Having the opportunity to visit Models1 HQ was pretty special, even being considered for the competition to be part of Evans S/S 12 catalogue was awesome. Although I didn't 'win', being shortlisted was a great feeling, and I glad I took the risk of entering - something that I will take into 2012, risk taking.


Infact, I'm sure 2011 had even more than what I just listed - but those definitely count as some of the highlights (and life changers).





So what will 2012 bring?



  • I GRADUATE!

  • Run a Half Marathon in Berlin


Those two are 100% happening.  1. whether I graduate with a First, 2.1, 2.2; fact is, I did it. I've struggled, but I'm proud of my effort (and I'll become the first person in my family to have a degree hah!) so it's not something I won't be happy (or quiet) about :)

Berlin - Bring. It. On. Team Bangs Army will be in full force, and I can't wait to complete it; and see a new city in the mean time!


Things I'd like to achieve:




  • More travellng?

  • I turn 23?

  • I start a PGCE?

  • I enter the 'real world.'


Watch out 2012! Im'ma coming!


What are your plans? What has been your 2011 highlight? :)


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Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Christmas 1, 2 & 3


So, Christmas is over again for another year.


~sad face~


But it has been wonderful.


It feels as though I've had three Christmases this year: one here with my boyfriend, another at home with my mum & sister, and then another mini version when my friend came round for mince pies & present swapping! But it was great that everyone was together at some point, even if it was extended by 3 days :)


I got so snap happy I took over 700 photos, clearly I wont be putting all of those up, so here are just a few of the best ones!


(also, say ~Hi!~ to my new 50mm lens, which I am in love with.)










Christmas Dinner time!



Which was, amazingly, a success! No burnt turkey, no soggy veg - if I do say so myself, it was tasty!






Turkey, mash, roast potatoes, honey parsnips, pigs in blankets, carrots, broccoli, stuffing AND onion gravy.



We were so full, there wasn't room for pudding... But there is always room for alcohol... Enough to keep you up until 7am, Boxing Day. And it all started with those horrible little shots of 'liquid cocaine' - Bacardi 151, Jagermeister, & Goldschlager. Not good. Not good at all.



the lesser of two evils (/fugly pictures) - in the other one I have my head wrapped in toilet roll. I'll let you decide what else happened that night. We don't remember.


We eventually woke up, mid-day, Boxing Day & headed over to my boyfriends mums for the best steak you've ever eaten. And a lot of rolling around in food comas.




And finally, we headed to my home, for present opening (and more food nibbling)





Speaking of photos - I now have my own book, with my name on it & everything.


Really!



How cool is that? I've never printed any of my pictures of Spain, so to have them all together in a book is really special.


Anyhoo, I won't bore you with any more :) - but it has been wonderful, and I feel extremely lucky for everything that has happened these past few days.


I hope you had an amazing, amazing time!


Next, New Years Eve!


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Saturday, 24 December 2011

It's Chriiiiiistmaaass!






One more sleep!


Happy Christmas Eve everyone! I wasn't sure whether to blog or not through the festive season, but seeing as I have a couple of minutes to spare I thought I would spread some Christmas cheer to anyone that may read this post.

So what have I been up to?

This week I have mainly been: watching Christmas films inc. Wallace & Gromit, Hocus Pocus and The Grinch. Visiting the family & pooch (who opened her christmas present early, then proceeded to pull its leg off). MORE Christmas shopping. Um.. Eating Fish & Chips, but the napkin was festive! More shop browsing - buying my first ever turkey & table decorations . Wrap, wrap, wrapping presents - the tree is overflowing slightly. Drinking mulled wine. oh and getting my Christmas hair done - those roots crept up on me like a ninja.



All in all a very fun, extremely relaxing, wonderfully festive few weeks!


I can't wait to give everyone their presents tomorrow! Hope you're all ready for a food, love & gift overload!


Have an amazing time :) and I'll blog you on the other side!


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Saturday, 17 December 2011

Food, Glorious, Food!

Help me Lord, I am making my own Christmas dinner this year...


Just take a while & let that soak in.


Before I left home I could just about manage to cook a microwave meal & beans on toast. Granted, my cooking skills have improved slightly since living away from home for nearly 4 years, but I'm not exactly Master Chef, so this is going to be challenging. To say the least.


Above is my mum's version of a Christmas table - I don't think I'll ever underestimate the power of a Mum on Christmas Day again. It's only the 18th and still I'm getting cold sweats about cooking a roast on the 25th.



So I've been looking around for some nice ways of prettifying our table & some recipes to make it (hopefully) an extra special & tasty meal.



*already drooling at the thought of honey roasted parsnips, mash potatoes & stuffing*


Looking around it seems that M&S, Next and the BBC Good Food guide will be the only way I'll get through the festive season alive, and without giving myself food poisoning.

M&S and Next have lots of cute bowls/napkins/glasses/placemats - which I'll definitely be looking into! And, I've tried a couple of 'Good Food' recipes and can confirm that they are tasty! So hopefully, that will help me cook my turkey to perfection :)

In the mean time, does anyone have an tips on how to achieve tasty veggies, perfect spuds or yummy gravy? 


'Cause I would love to know!


8 Days to Go!

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Thursday, 15 December 2011

Last Minute Christmas Gift Guide!

I think we've established Christmas is my favourite time - ever.


And even though I've nearly finished Christmas shopping, wrapped everything and put it under the tree, there's no reason I can't suggest some extra cute bits I've seen floating around on the the wonderful internetz.


So here are my Top Six gifts for Him, Her & Home/Stocking Fillers.


Also they're all relatively cheap to help with the purse strings :)


Enjoy!



1. Burgundy Satchel [Asos £70] 2. Fur Slipper Boots [Warehouse £20] 3. Seasonal Goody Bag [Hotel Chocolat] 4. Body Creme [Jo Malone £48] 5. Lingerie  [Topshop £22] 6. House of Harlow Ring [Urban Outfitters £110].


For Her.


So maybe I went with my taste on this one - but what woman wouldn't love to receive at least one of these as a gift?! Christmas is about indulging, I could probably see me sporting all of these things all at once on Christmas morning!

I think my favourite thing on here is the body creme. Jo Malone scents are beautiful (and unisex!); pomegranate noir being one of my favourite smells! Everything from that shop has a sense of luxury about it, and even comes in a lovely little box & gift wrapped if required. Plus if you're from Leeds, there's also a great shop in The Victoria Quarter! 


1. Floral Dish [Asos £10] 2. I Heart My Necklaces [Asos £12] 3. Ceramic Family [Topshop £14] 4. Rose Mirror [Urban Outfitters £24] 5. Chelsea Roses Mug in a Tin [Cath Kidston £8]  6. Love Hearts Tea Candles [Firebox £5.99]


For the Home / Stocking Fillers! 


I love little bits like these; cute, stylish & suitable for most friends, sisters, girlfriends - I'm sure there is something for everyone in there! Particularly love the "Love Hearts" tea candles, super cheap too. Well done Firebox!


Little surprise bits are normally my favourite to open. I always like to see what other people think I might enjoy :)


1. Christmas Socks [Topman £3] 2. T-Shirt [All Saints £40] 3. Duff Beer 24 Pack [Firebox £24.99] 4. Novelty Mug of Sweets [River Island £6] 5. weSC Banjo Headphones [Asos £60] 6. Isotoner SmarTouch Gloves [Firebox £14.99]


For Him.


Um... So these gifts may not exactly be bordering on the cheap side, but there are some pretty cool gadgets - looking at you, isotoner gloves, that may (or may not) make your chap/father/guy friend happy this Christmas. Obviously, everyone is different, but I thought these may help spark some ideas if anyone is really stuck!

Personally, love the Firebox website, great quick postage & hundreds of quirky gift ideas - so check that out if nothing else! (not paid to say this, I really do just love their site!)


And that is it!


Miss Samantha Christmas - over & out :)


What are some of your favourite online shops? Have you bought all your gifts yet?



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Sunday, 11 December 2011

Noteworthy: Fonts, MissTiina.


I seem to be getting into this whole; font - photoshop - template addiction thing at the moment. I seem to spend more time making my blog look pretty than I do anything else! To do so, I'm always on the look out for fonts & one of the most searched terms that leads to my blog is for the Instagram Actions I posted a while back, so I figured it was quite a popular subject to spread the word on!



The other day, I searched for 'hand drawn heart' in Google, up popped misstiina.com and I'm pretty sure I fell in love straight away! What was even better is that the fonts were free... And I'm always a fan of a freebie. Not just 1, 5 or 10, free fonts, but 103! ... No, really.


They're great quality and some really fun ones that I can see me using time & time again.



As you can tell, I'm pretty impressed.


So I wanted to give quick props & a thank you, to Miss Tiina & her wonderful fonts.


All that is asked is that you add a button to your blog (which are also very pretty) not too difficult, huh?


Hope you enjoy them too, and if you do, let me know!


Happy prettifying your blogs!


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Friday, 9 December 2011

The Models1 Finalist Day in LDN!


As most of you know, on Tuesday I went down to London for the Models1 / Style 369 / Evans Plus Size Model Competition!


It was awesome.


Even my love / hate relationship with the capital city couldn't deter me from how good the day was. AND, I didn't get lost! For the first time, in the whole 4 times I've been to London, I didn't get lost & start crying. Pretty great feeling!


Anyway.



8.45am Tuesday. Without any real make-up on & in a simple black vest top as required; I caught the train to Kings Cross.


The whole zero make-up thing was a little 'unsettling,' and actually the first time I've ever done something like that - which in itself is a pretty weird thing to admit. So, to make myself feel a little better I applied Johnsons Daily Essentials Face Cream (£4.07) as per usual, plus NARS Multi Protect Primer (£24); just to give some kind of glow to my skin, a smidgen of 17 Clear Definition mascara (£4.69) for my lashes and 'brows & Vaseline (£1.99) for my lips - and I was off!


I arrived in London for 11am, I instantly became nervous with the whole 'I don't know where I am meant to go' situation, but I soon caught the tube and arrived at Holborn station.


Once I found Models1 HQ I was greeted by the receptionist and met Ashley, Holly & Jessica (lovely girls!); who were also in my 'category' for the day. We chatted, signed forms, got measured, asked to change into leggings and heels & waited for hair and make-up.


In the mean time I got to speak to women from Evans, who were super friendly, although I was quite nervous! I'm normally not nervous I guess, but I think I had a mini - realisation of how much I wanted this, making it quite an important conversation - leading to me getting nervous & probably blushing!


I also got 'interviewed' & filmed for what I guess, may go on a website at some point, about how I felt about the event, what it would mean to me to win, etc!



Hair and make- up time!


I've never had someone else do that for me, so it was quite a nice, relaxing experience! My hair was straightened, and I had some pretty natural looking make-up applied; neutral eyeshadows & a slight lip tint & I was good to go!


Photoshoot.


12.30, I got asked to go for the photo - shoot. It was a great, friendly environment and the photographer really made me comfortable. I had a full shot taken with my number '15' and then on with some portrait, head on & body shots! There were a lot of "perfect, perfect!"'s being said, but maybe he was just being nice! :)


I wont deny, I was more nervous than I thought I would be! But, hopefully that didn't show & I got some good pictures (Oh, and you know I tried to use all my Tyra Banks knowledge of 'smizing' - if you don't know, you should!)


After that, it was home time! And I got to check out my goody bag, which was another nice surprise.


In it was:


January's Cosmopolitan, St. Tropez Instant Tan, Body Shop Blusher in Heather Pink (which I LOVE) & Lip Liner in Mauve Berry (also, great) a Models1 lanyard, Evans new AW catalogue, plus info on up & coming clothes lines AND some earrings from Daisy & Eve.


Spoilt much?


All in all, a great day, a nice change from everything I've been doing at the moment, and a cool little experience to add to the Bank of Life. So, a big 'thank you!' to Models1/Evans/Style 369 for organising it all.


What will come of it?


I'm not too sure!


As far as I know, I think the results are within this month, there are five winners - one for every shape (apple, pear, curvy & busty) plus one new face of Style369!


There were a lot of beautiful girls there, [read. fierce competition!] but thank you all for the support I had leading up to this! And of course, I will keep you updated on the outcome ;)



[EDIT] I received an email yesterday unfortunately saying I didn't get to the finals, however it doesn't change anything I wrote & the great time I had :)... Thanks everyone for the support! It's been fun!
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