Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Dresses for Spring

We've made it through January, now we're in the stage between Winter and Spring. (Spwinter...?) The mornings are chilly but a lot more of the grey skies have been replaced with blue ones. At the weekend I even ventured outside without a coat! March is nearly here and I am so excited about getting my Spring wardrobe together. I find shopping for Spring outfits  much more exciting than Winter clothes. I like my clothes to be lightweight and minimal effort and the warmer weather helps with that. 

I love to pop on a dress and throw a long cardigan over the top. The kind of shoes can change the dress and make it work for day shopping or a meal in the evening. Just changing from heels, to flat boots or pumps changes a look completely. It's effortless chic and versatile too.
Zaful have a  great selection to help you find that perfect spring dressThey ship from the US so it can take over a week to arrive but we've got time for that! That's a perk of me getting excited for warmer weather a little early. If you're willing to wait a bit you can grab yourself a right little bargain as their prices are really reasonable. 

I browsed through the site for pages and pages! There is so much choice, from off the shoulder dresses, skater style, A-line, floral patterns, tartan and moreRecently I am really loving a wrap dress, I've found a couple on the high street are lovely but are far too low cut for me to wear comfortably day to day. The long floral red dress (bottom, middle) is a perfect Spring colour and casual enough to wear for the school run or out to lunch. Red is such a great colour for this time of year, we've just left the Christmassy feel behind and are adding polka dots and flowers to take it into the warmer weather. Take a look at some other red dresses here.

If you're not quite in the Spring mindset yet a zaful shirt dress is perfect for the interim. A pair of tights and some boots teamed with a leather jacket and you can step away from the jeans and sweatshirt life we've all been living in. 

You can easily find something perfect for less than £15 so it won't cost a fortune to start putting your Spring wardrobe together.  

*sponsored post 


Monday, 19 February 2018

How I try to Wind down

If you know me you know I have a lot of unpopular opinions... and I know I'm in the minority here but

 I just don't like sleeping. 
there, I said it

I'm like a toddler, I really am but if we didn't need to do it I wouldn't. I just see it as a bit of a waste of life - there's other things I could be doing with my time! That's the problem though, I do need sleep, I'm only human. I have always been guilty of overdoing it or 'burning the candle at both ends' as my Mum puts it. And I am really suffering lately.

Now don't get me wrong, the dark, icy mornings don't make me want to jump out of my warm bed but I am much more of a morning person that most, I just want to get up. The trouble is, I know I could enjoy sleeping, or at least giving my body that rest that it badly needs. 

Last week I didn't have to worry about early wake- up calls as it was half-term. We don't plan things before 10am and I'm fortunate that M sleeps in til gone 8 most mornings. Now I don't have as much time to get in more sleep so I have made a plan to try and wind down more and make the most of the rest I can get. 

Now, I know the rules about having time away from our phones before bed, it's even recommended to have the thing out of the room as the blue light wakes us up on some level or something... but I just can't do that. 
 What if someone needs me in the night?
 What if I need a torch to guide me to the bathroom?
 What if I need to note something important down?
 What if I want to check my Insta feed at 1am...?! 
 and it's my alarm. 
 I admit I'm not off to the best start. 

But I do have my winding down plan sorted and that my friends, is a step in the right direction, or as the french say 'Un pas dans la bonne direction' -it's not a french phrase, just things sound more fancy in french.

Lush have a load of products which help with sleep. The Twilight bath bomb is one of my favourites, Ylang Ylang and Lavender are key ingredients and oh my! -it smells sooo good you guys. Pop this in a hot bath and you're on the way to relaxville (or something).

 While in the bath it's time to chill. it's not a time for maintenance - shaving my legs is effort in itself. This is a time to just 'be'.  I love the Jasmine infused Spacemask* which you can pop over your eyes and lay back. You buy a pack of 5 of these for £15 and they are a lovely treat. With my eyes covered I'm not tempted to pick up my phone and catch up with Instagram. I might take one quick Insta story though cos if you don't Insta Story your bath- did you really have a bath?


Scents play a huge part in this routine. A good candle* sets the scene and adds some good lighting. 

Lush's Sleepy body lotion has a great reputation, it's meant to be a similar scent to Twilight, which I love. I don't find the scent makes a huge difference to my sleep personally but it does smell good and the act of applying a nice moisturiser after a bath is definitely calming. 

Another option for adding a calming scent is the This Works Deep Sleep Aromatherapy Roller. This is a little  roll-on for your wrists which encourages clear breathing for a deeper sleep and a less frazzled mind, thanks to a blend of Eucalyptus, Frankincense and Lavender. 

If you don't want to add a scent directly to your body why not add some to your surroundings?! I bought my bestie pretty much everything from the Feather and Down range but the only thing I've tried for myself is the Sweet Dreams Pillow Spray. The scent is different from most 'bedtime' products I've tried, it's a bit sweeter and contains chamomile. I spray this on my pillow and also my son's when he's in need of a deep sleep. 


Skincare wise I make sure my make-up is all off properly and then I use the  Inner-Soul Healing Night Balm*. It's been designed to use all over the face and support skin healing as you sleep- and the Patchouli and Lavender scent is so soothing too.  It's best to use upward and outward sweeps to help with circulation. Press onto areas of imbalance using the fingertips and it leaves your skin feeling fabulous.

I pop on a lamp, grab a hot water bottle (cos I'm old now) and although there is the temptation to scroll through my phone I get a book out to read. There's loads of books on my Amazon wish list and I plan to get through them this year so swapping my phone for a proper good read before bed will help. 

After half hour or so my eyes are tired enough to rest. Now it's getting a bit lighter in the morning I slip on my A by Amara silk eye mask* so I get an extra half hour in the morning when that pesky sun peeks through my curtains (I love you sun please stay!) and I drift off surrounded by some gorgeous scents and a calm mind. 

I can only hope I keep this up, realistically I won't be able to do this every night (who can afford a Lush bath bomb for every night of the week?!) but I will definitely make the effort to fit in a winding down routine a few times a week. 

*these products were gifted to me but I was not obliged to feature them in any posts


Monday, 12 February 2018

Essie Valentine's Nails

Looking around the shops at the moment, it's hard not to notice that Valentine's Day is coming up. All those reds and pinks in the windows reminding us to spread a bit of love. There's a bit of a debate about the day - I personally love it. It's nice seeing people with their bunches of flowers heading out on dates to spend a bit of quality time together. Yes, it can seem a little forced but if you just look at it as a reminder to make some time for someone special - well, that can't really be negative, can it? 

I'll probably be wearing  a red lip (any excuse!) and I've dressed my nails for the occasion... 

Using all Essie shades I've put together a little Valentine's Nails look. 


On my index finger I have Lapis of Luxury followed by In My Orbit 
from the galaxy metals collection  with a little pink heart carefully painted (with my right hand -I'm left handed so that is trickier than it sounds!) using a nail art pen. 
On my ring finger is Baguette Me Not which is one of my favourites at the moment and I'll no doubt be wearing a lot more in the Spring. Muchi, Muchi is on my little finger and did need a good 3 coats but I like it's subtlety, it's a really nice pale pink for every day.

I added the polka dots with the end of a hair pin, it's a little hack of mine -dots with minimal effort!

I actually find painting my nails very therapeutic. I might have to find time to get a little more creative more often.


Saturday, 10 February 2018

Dreaming of Summer - Zaful Bikinis

I first heard of Zaful when I watched Laura Blair's You Tube channel. She was always trying on such gorgeous outfits and the thing that really surprised me was the price - everything was a total bargain. Of course I ended up taking a closer look at the site myself. They ship from the US so it can take over a week to arrive but it does mean you can get yourself a little bargain if you're willing to wait a bit.

Now the same thing happens to me every year, I get through January and my mind wanders to Spring and Summer, we're on the home straight now, warmer times are coming! I'm ignoring the fact that it has been known to snow in April in the past, I'm mentally planning holidays, weekend breaks and summer picnics with friends. 
I buy a new bikini for every holiday so this was  the first part of the site I explored. Most are £10-15 for a full set so I will no doubt be ordering a couple. With some tops being £30 and bottoms at £15 it's easy to end up spending nearly £50 on a set on the high street. 

I was really pleased to see such a large selection, there was so much to choose from that covered all bases, high waisted, thong briefs, tankinis, even some matching shorts and cover ups.


I love the ease of being on holiday, I'm pretty lazy when it comes to picking outfits so throwing on a bikini makes things much easier for me. I love that there are some statement pieces which are definitely more for show. The blue velvet one is gorgeous! Underwire swimwear  gives you the support you need and also the confidence that you're not going to be falling out anywhere. How amazingly cute is the shell bikini top?! Total mermaid vibes!

For those days where you've indulged at the buffet and I don't want to walk around in a bikini I like the option of  rocking a high waited shorts with a bandeau swim top  it feels a little more like real clothes and you can take a wander to the shops without feeling the need to get changed. Bandeau tops look less bra-like so work well throughout the day.

Take a little browse through the site and think about the summer days! Be sure to check out the zaful blog for fashion inspiration too.  

*sponsored post


Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Personalised Star Map from Under Lucky Stars

Oh guys.... you know I'm a bit of a romantic at heart, and I love anything that is personalised so when I heard about these star maps I had to get involved.  Pretty much everything on the walls of our home has a story behind it and we like things to have meaning so I know this would make a perfect gift.


Under Lucky Stars  make personalised star maps which show you what the sky looked like at a particular time. It contains galactic coordinates of all the stars visible from earth with the naked eye. They use the Bright Star catalogue from Yale University to make sure the charts are as accurate as possible and it makes for a really interesting piece of artwork for your wall. 

I knew this would make a perfect Valentine's Day gift for Sam, he loves anything to do with space, he's always telling me about what stars he can see, he has this app on his phone which he uses all the time when the sky is really clear. Don't mention Professor Brian Cox in front of him, once he gets started he won't stop!


So I sat down to make an order for him for Valentine's Day. The first thing to do is decide on an event that has meaning, a time that was special that will be the main focus of the print. I chose our engagement

A little back story- Sam and I met when we worked together in central London,  we travelled to work together most mornings and we got the train from London Bridge around the time the Shard was being built. We always commented on it and it's always been kind of symbolic to us. Since leaving that job and having our son we've moved further out of London to Surrey. 
A couple of years ago Sam arranged a night away in London and he thought it was about time we got round to visiting the Shard while we were there. He proposed looking over the platform that we got to work each morning and it was incredible- he'd arranged for a photographer to capture the moment and for us to see our friends from work later that evening after we'd been for dinner at Barbecoa. I loved that day and everything about it, I am actually slightly concerned that the wedding day just won't beat it!  

-Needless to say this was the best day for me to choose. You can pick any date you want, it doesn't have to be an engagement, it can be when you met, your first kiss, the exact moment when you said 'I do!' or even when your child was born. Get really creative and make something really special.

You input the location, time and date so you can be really precise and it will generate the right star map for you. You can add a title at the top but I chose to leave it blank, I think the picture speaks for itself. The bottom has the line

 'Stars above 32  London Bridge Street, London SE1 9SG UK on the 6th of November 2015 at 12.20pm' 

I know this was the exact moment thanks to my iPhone. When we were looking out from the Shard I was taking pictures and talking about what I could see (basically ruining Sam's big planned speech!) and then the next photo was of my ring so I can work out that it was roughly between the time of the two photos. Isn't technology great?


The print is just gorgeous, it's printed on really smooth sturdy art paper (240GSM for those in the know) which is much thicker than most typical poster prints. 

The stars that are closer to the edge of the circle were closer to the horizon at the time while the stars that were right about our heads are shown in at the the centre. I like how one of the constellations looks like the Shard but I am told that is in fact The Big Dipper. Everyday's a school day, kids!

Ordering one is really easy, simply enter the time and date you're after, select a colour scheme and you an opt to have a 18x24 inch poster or  slightly larger one at 24x36 - both are standard sizes which makes it easy to find a frame if you want one. I got mine on Amazon. Shipping is free  worldwide for an unframed print but you can choose to add a frame to your order if you wish which will result in paying a little more postage. It was delivered 4 days after ordering.

I really appreciate the opportunity to work with brands I love and I can honestly say I would have ordered this myself even if it wasn't for the purpose of this review. I really love how it looks on our wall an Sam is thrilled with it too. 


If you're stuck for gift ideas I think this would make a really lovely treat for someone special.

*I was kindly sent this for free but all thoughts are my own


Friday, 2 February 2018

Valentines Gift Guide

Anyone that knows me knows I really like Valentines Day. I'm sorry, ok!  For me it's nice to have something positive to celebrate after a dull January - and January's are always dull. Yes, we should appreciate our loved ones every day of the year but it's good to have a kick up the bum to remind us to make time for a little treat. Especially since being a busy working Mum, I need this and I like having something to look forward to, something to give me a moment to be 'me' and not just 'mummy' - we all need a much needed moment for ourselves from time to time. It's not about the gifts, it's about the time spent together, but some times a treat can put a big smile on someone's face - I'm happy if somebody buys me a Cream Egg!


While you just can't go wrong with flowers (Aldi ones are mega cheap and really lovely by the way!) I have a few lovely pieces from UK Lingerie to show you that would make an amazing Valentines treat to someone (or yourself!).

UK lingerie is the place to head to for great lingerie, loungewear, nightwear and robes. They've got a wide selection of brands to suit all price ranges too. 

So here are a few bits that I think would make excellent gifts for any occasion - but as Valentine's is coming up, it's the perfect excuse to pick something up.

A night in on the sofa watching a film is one of my favourite kind of dates. When it's cold outside it's lovely to get all cosy and spend some time together. These silky pyjamas  make me feel like a Kardashian and they are so soft! The elasticated waist makes them really comfortable and the button front gives them a classic, stylish feel. I am actually tempted to wear these out!


chemise  is a great alternative to silky pj's if you want something a little special. It's perfect 'night away ordering room service' attire. A chemise is great to wear under a dress as a slip too. This one has soft lace cups with a matching lace trim and it's really stretchy and comfortable.


The new 50 Shades film is out this month so if it's inspired you to get a little adventurous this seductive eye mask might be a good first step. The cat flick is really flattering and I'm always a fan of a bit of sparkle so I love the detail on the front.


It wouldn't be a Valentines gift guide without suggesting a lingerie set. When we think 'sexy lingerie' we get visions of red and lace but if that's not your thing you can opt for something a little more subtle. This bra (£26) from Pour Moi is something that can be worn day to day. Is it just me that feels really put together if I've got a nice underwear set on? Even though nobody else knows it's nice for me! The little vine leaf pattern highlights the curve of the cup and the pale pink is really pretty contrast against the black. It also has removable straps so it's a versatile one too! There's a matching thong (£14) and if you want the full set throw in the suspenders too. These have a cute bow and diamante details which look really lovely. 


Are you a matching lingerie fan or do you favour a night in your pjs? In my eyes both are equally attractive, just in different ways. Let me know your Valentines Day plans!

*I was kindly sent these products but all thoughts are my own