Monday, 30 December 2013

Christmas & Goodbye to 2013

As we're coming to the end of another year, I thought it was about time I updated my blog. 

The last few months haven't been easy; in fact 'hectic' and 'stressful' would probably sum it up better. However, as everything comes full circle (as it always does) I found myself thanking those dark moments for being in my life, as it makes the happier ones even sweeter. 

Christmas has been a wonderful time to appreciate just what I have and all that is yet to come in 2014, so I thought I would share some snippets of what we got up to…

… I received some absolutely wonderful presents; including an engraved Tiffany charm bracelet from 'my pets' Herbert, Skye & Pebbles (they must've been saving their pocket money!), some lovely beauty bits, plenty of Christmas socks and my very first designer handbag… I'm scared to even breathe around it, so when I pluck up the courage to actually put things in it, I will perhaps show it in better detail! (It's a Mulberry Effie Hobo and is unbelievably beautiful). I feel incredibly lucky and I'm still pretty gobsmacked, to be honest!  

Oh, and I did make a Christmas dinner (which, to say I'd had the help of my friend Mr. Rum and Coke, wasn't actually that bad!) but I was so hungry that was gone before I could even get a picture. 
This year saw me meet my first sloth, travel to Costa Rica on a solo adventure and tick a huge, huge dream off of my bucket-list. I also began properly working my way towards my goal of becoming a primary school teacher; which I'm pleased to say has led me to two interviews to attend in January for a PGCE course! So despite the downfalls towards the end, 2013 really has been kind to me. I can't help but feel even more excited for 2014 and what will hopefully be the beginning of becoming a qualified teacher and pursuing my dream career. Fingers crossed!

And as for a New Years Resolution? Love, move and blog more. I like to keep them short and sweet; realistic and achievable. Because, let's face it, nobody knows what plans 2014 will have for us all, but I think I can accomplish those, regardless. 

How was your Christmas? What NYE plans do you have?
I hope 2014 holds exciting adventures for all of you.
xo 


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Sunday, 20 October 2013

Domingo

I do love Sundays. 

Especially ones where I can indulge in a little 'me' time. I think it's important to pay some attention to what ever it is you want to do at least once a week & today was that day!

I woke up after a mini sleep-in (8am) and after seeing the grey skies outside, I decided it was definitely a porridge type of morning. There is nothing more comforting than a warm breakfast on a miserable day - at least, in my opinion! 

In the past I've always opted for the quick & easy sachet porridge, but there is something quite therapeutic about making your own from scratch (obviously not the most tasking thing, but nice nonetheless). A combination I've been loving these past few weeks is;

♥ 50g Porridge Oats
♥ 300ml Almond Milk
♥ 1/2 a Royal Gala apple (chopped into chunks, added while simmering)
♥ 1/2 tbsp Ground Cinnamon (added while simmering)
♥ Handful of Sultanas
♥ Drizzle of honey (optional)  

It's such a lovely bowl of sweetness (if you can't tell I have a very sweet tooth!) without there being too many added nasties. When I have the spare ten minutes or so required to put together & eat it, I love to treat myself to this!
Something I've also been getting into recently is yoga. I've always loved the 'idea' of yoga and all the benefits, physically and mentally, that you can get from it. So, I invested in a new yoga mat, searched the net for some tutorials and began! One of my favourite instructors is Tara Stiles. Her channel has hundreds of wonderful (and fairly short) yoga flows to follow, plus there's everything from weight loss yoga to just a gentle stretch. Today I opted for this video, which I have done a few times now as it is just so relaxing yet energising all in one.
After this I had a good cuddle with my ratties; Skye & Pebbles. Their little faces never fail to make me smile. They're always up to mischief and they genuinely make me laugh out loud when they're scurrying around, even when I'm by myself (crazy rat lady, I admit).  

Despite Sunday's generally having a very lazy theme, I do sometimes (sometimes being very rarely) apply a little bit of makeup to make myself feel a bit more put together. Today's picks were;
Skincare
♥ Keihls Ultra Facial Moisturiser
♥ Keihls Avocado Eye Cream

Makeup
♥ Bobbi Brown Corrector - Light Bisque
♥ Mac Omega Eyeshadow - through brows
♥ Bourjois Healthy Mix Concealer - 51
♥ Maybelline The Falsies - Black
♥ Rimmel Scandaleyes Eyeliner - Nude
♥ Bourjois Cream Blush - 04
♥ Korres Lip Butter - Rose

Clearly I'm not a 'five product' girl, but I did try use minimal products to create a dewy, natural base with just a hint of colour on the lips & cheeks! Quite different to my usual full face of makeup look, but I actually quite like it.
For the rest of the day I will be working on my personal statement for my PGCE application (eek!) & cooking some kind of Sunday Dinner, of course! All the while lounging around in a big hoodie, with rattie tickles in between. Perfect!

What are your plans for the day?
xo
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Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Lush Spa : Sound Bath Treatment

Yesterday afternoon I had a little walk to one of my favourite shops in Leeds - Lush

Now I know Lush can be either a 'love it or hate it' affair; some people find it a tad overbearing but some love the forwardness of the staff. Personally I just love the products, the ethics, the smell and a happy staff member never turns me away!

One thing I didn't realise however, was that tucked away underneath all the hustle & bustle is one of the cosiest Spa's I've ever seen. As soon as you open the door, you are greeted by what looks like someones kitchen. A setting that's actually based on the kitchen of the creator of Lush; so that you feel like you can just come in and make yourself at home. I really loved that it was so homely, so far from the clinical image you may have of many other Spas. This theme clearly runs throughout and gives the whole experience a very personal feeling.
The therapist, Jo, who greeted me and did my treatment was so friendly and welcoming. She had a lovely personality that wasn't overwhelming or 'in your face', but very relaxing and calming. I filled out a short questionnaire while Jo talked me through all the things that were about to happen in my 'Sound Bath' treatment. This includes ear candles, tuning forks, singing bowls and a wonderful facial & head massage. 

Prior to this I'd never heard of anything remotely similar to a Sound Bath - a sixty minute meditative treatment, that cleanses your mind & releases body tension, leaving you able to listen deeper within yourself. So, I was naturally very excited to get started, this had come at a time when I had a lot on my mind and this sounded like the perfect treatment for me. 
The treatment room was just as cosy as the reception area, with wonderful lighting, invigorating scents and a comfy, heated treatment bed, it was hard not to feel instantly relaxed! Jo showed me how the tuning forks would work - one which recreates the 'Om', and the other pair, which when used together recreate 'the perfect note' which all help in making you feel calm and centred. She also explained the order in which things would go and the music that I would be listening to, which is all, if not a big part, of the experience. You can listen to some snippets and even purchase the CD here - which is something I'm very interested in, I've never heard such a blend of wonderful, calming & spiritual melodies. 
I don't want to give away too much of the treatment as there are so many pleasant surprises & I wouldn't want to ruin that for anyone considering booking in for a Sound Bath! However I will say that the hot and cold stones were incredible, the ear candles felt like you were sleeping next to a hot, crackling fire and the head massage was the best I've ever had...

I wouldn't expect anything ordinary from this Spa treatment, it is truly unique. It left me feeling extremely relaxed & enlightened. I didn't want it to end!

If you are interested in a Sound Bath, which I would highly recommend - if you can't already tell, you can book here or even treat a loved one to a voucher!

Would you have this treatment done? 
Have you ever visited a Lush Spa?
xo


*pr sample - my opinion is completely my own & 110% true!
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Friday, 13 September 2013

Autumn Inspired Make Up

Summer has been and gone; lets face it. 

A sudden cold few days has me realising it's very nearly time to get all my jumpers and long sleeved tops back out of storage and accept the fact that it's highly unlikely there will be anymore sunshine! (Sorry, Summer lovers!) I actually love Autumn, so I'm welcoming it with open arms - no more hayfever, no more over heated greenhouse-esque apartment and no more fear of unpainted toes to put in sandals. It's a win, win situation.

Anyway, I woke up this morning with an urge to experiment with some Autumn colours in my makeup. Golds, deep reds & bronze was the plan and this is what came out...

Products Used : 
Yves Saint Lauren Teint Touche Eclat Foundation in BD40 // Rimmel Wake Me Up Concealer //
Mac Omega for eyebrows & Woodwinked as eyeshadow, Coffee eyeliner, Soft & Gentle highlighter, Creme in Your Coffee lipstick // Benefit Hoola Bronzer // L'Oreal Rosewood Blush // Maybelline Falsies Mascara

I'm so head over heels for the YSL foundation; it's the perfect amount of coverage for me and gives such a luminous, dewy finish. Creme In Your Coffee is also a long time favourite and one of my most used lipsticks - ever. The L'Oreal blush is a new discovery but one I'm very happy with, it's a great autumnal shade and has lovely pigmentation for a highstreet brand - the packaging is a little 'clunky', but I can forgive that. 

I can definitely see me wearing this combination throughout the next few months!

Oh & my top is from Fat Face (£35)... If I could buy everything from there - I would!

Have you had an Autumn makeup overhaul? What have you been loving?
xo

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Friday, 16 August 2013

Eyelash & Brow Tint at Russell Eaton

Despite having naturally mousey brown hair, my eyelashes and eyebrows have always been that bit lighter.

When I went through a slight 'goth' stage as a teenager and my hair sneakily went from brown to permanent black, my mum, who was definitely not pleased, insisted I had my 'brows & lashes tinted so that everything 'matched,' (and man, am I glad she did. The word 'thumb' springs to mind). However since then, I've always stuck to makeup to hide and alter them. Think lashings of mascara & plenty of eyebrow powder and you won't be far off. Fast forward a few years later, having recently joined the gym & doing more swimming than a fish, it would be nice not to worry about panda eyes and disappearing eyebrows for once! 

So when Russell Eaton, Leeds kindly got in contact and asked if there was a beauty treatment I'd like to have done; an eyebrow, lash tint and shape was definitely my first choice (I'm still a nail biter so a manicure was unfortunately out of the question)

On Wednesday I trotted round the corner (perks of living in the city centre!) and headed into the lovely & stylish Russell Eaton salon. Even for mid-week it was lively; lots of chatter and very warming. I was assisted downstairs, past the hairdressing area, into a dimly lit cosy sofa reception, where I signed a medical form (skin patch tests are recommended) and patiently awaited my treatment.
The treatment room was, again, cosy, modern and clean. The beautician, also called Sam, was super friendly & made me feel really relaxed - even after the word 'wax' was mentioned. We had a quick chat about what I wanted - to keep my eyebrows fairly natural, just a tad darker and tidied up, while my eyelashes would be blue black (the darkest black they do)
Up first was the tint & wax. Now, I've never had any part of my body waxed before and I'm quite particular about my eyebrow shape - so it's safe to say I had sweaty palms about it all. But after joking about the fact a young girl came in and had the same treatment that day, I had a word with myself and we got on with it... I'm not going to lie and say it was completely pain free, because there was a definite 'sting' as the wax/hairs/paper were whipped off, but the whole thing was so quick, I didn't have time to really think what was going on. My eyes where streaming, on the other-hand, and letting my whole 'this doesn't really hurt' poker face down, badly. Prior to this, a tint had been applied to my brows and they were happily, and pain free-ly, doing their thang.
I still hadn't seen what was going on with the ol' brows when I had my eyelash tint put on. I had small cotton pads placed under my bottom lashes, then another on top, sandwiching in the tint in the middle. This was the relaxing part. I laid with my eyes shut, Sam left the room and dimmed the lights, there was some lovely soothing music on, and I got to ponder about how all this would look when it was over.
Five minutes passed and off came the tint on both the brows & lashes and I was free to sit up and take a look! And I loved them! 
My eyebrows are so much neater, and the perfect shade, nothing too drastic and you can actually see my eyelashes! The skin around my eyebrows was naturally a little red, but that faded in two or three hours. I was advised not to use anything too heavy or oily on my skin/near that area which I took onboard and by the morning all had returned to normal. The lash tint should last for around six weeks & the brows for about three.
It is strange to wake up and think 'ah! I left my makeup on!' when in reality, I didn't, rather than, 'ah! where are my features?'... And it really is useful for waking up and applying minimal products. My eyebrows now barely need anything adding, and my eyelashes are black root to tip, so no need to fear about any blondies peeking out!
Overall? Super happy with the whole experience & outcome. I will definitely be going back for this re-doing before going on holiday or when my eyebrows are just a bit out of control!

Have you had anything waxed? Tinted? Would you have this treatment done?
xo

You can find Russell Eaton on Facebook, Twitter & online here
*This treatment was provided free of charge, but that doesn't effect any of the aforementioned review.

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Friday, 2 August 2013

Blackhouse Leeds : Steak & Swing!

Anybody that knows me, will know that I love my food. 

Living in the centre of town, this gives me plenty of options to try, but one place that always stands out to me is Blackhouse - The Grill On The Square - a modern, sophisticated bar and steak restaurant. The last time I dined there was to celebrate that I had a 2:1 in my Spanish degree, so it does hold some lovely memories. Naturally, I was delighted when on Tuesday, 30th July, Blackhouse kindly invited me and my other half to dine with them and enjoy a live Swing band in the form of Dominic Haplin & The Honey B's. 

We sat down at 7.30pm and were eating within fifteen minutes or so. The service was speedy, but not rushed, and the staff were all very pleasant and welcoming. Which always gets a big thumbs up from me, as they are always part of the experience in any restaurant.
The food... Well. 

The food was nothing short of amazing. My boyfriend was in his element with a starter of camembert, crumbled nuts, croutons and cranberries, and the hoisin sauce that accompanied my duck spring rolls was delicious (I'm pretty sure it's not normal to eat the full pot, but I was layering that stuff on like it was going out of fashion).

For the main meals - it would've been wrong not to have steak in a steak restaurant - so I opted for fillet steak, my favourite, with home-cut chips and the other half; 'the special,' sirloin steak with crispy bacon and stilton (are you detecting his cheese addiction yet?) on a bed of mustard mash. Both steaks were cooked to perfection and extremely tasty, plus very hearty (but not overbearing) portions. If steak isn't your thing I think it's also worth mentioning that they have a very impressive seafood menu and a couple of vegetarian options!

If we weren't full enough then, along came the desert menu. And trust me when I say, it really is hard for me to turn down a pudding! It was a hard choice, as everything sounded so good, but in the end I opted for creme brule with raspberry coulis (because that makes it healthy, right?!) and a cashew nut tuille. My boyfriends choice was a no brainer when the waitress described the Fruit Berry Trifle as one of their best sellers and similar to a 'good old fashioned trifle like your grandma makes at Christmas' - he was sold. 

Again, both deserts were genuinely amazing. The creme brule sugar top cracked, like all good creme brule's should, but still melted in your mouth. The trifle was definitely a more modern version than any I've ever seen and it was pretty much gone in sixty seconds - so I think thats also a big thumbs up from him!
Whilst all of this food was being devoured, Dominic Haplin was singing some wonderful 'old school' Swing favourites, such as; Fly Me To The Moon, Moon River and Somewhere Beyond The Sea (all of which had me bopping about in my seat). The live band aspect really added something special to the atmosphere and I really enjoyed listening to him. Blackhouse usually have a piano player most nights, which is also great - you just can't beat live music! 

Anyway, if it wasn't already obvious, we had an absolutely wonderful time. It was one of the best restaurant experiences I've personally ever had, and one of the best I've had at Blackhouse. If you're in Leeds, I would 100% recommend you give them a try!

Where's your favourite place to eat?
xo

*the meal was paid for by Blackhouse, but that doesn't alter any of the above in any way, shape or form, my stomach was extremely happy!
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