Thursday, 30 January 2014

The Pampery Gift Set

I've never been one to just receive one 'main' present from one person at Christmas. I've (somehow) become the girl that is a 'bits n bobs' kinda person when it come's to receiving gifts. My boyfriend always gets me a 'main' present, then lots of little bits and bobs to go with it, and his family seem to have adopted this pattern as well. So it wasn't no surprise that from both his mum and sister, I had lots of smaller gifts to unwrap this Christmas, this being one of them:

Although this isn't a 'brand' name as such, I couldn't not swoon over the cute packaging.. I mean c'mon, how could you not like that cupcake tin? I haven't a clue what I'm going to store in it yet, but that alone deserves a mention. I love the whole vintage take as well..


The boxed body lotion did not come in the tin, but as a separate gift, however because it was all from the same brand, I thought I would pop it in! Without being too judgmental, I didn't have high expectations of this behind the cutesy packaging. I thought the bubble bath would be only lightly scented and produce a pitiful worth of bubbles, and the body moisturizer would be so thin on the ground and greasy that I'd just stick it in my drawer to never see the light of day again. However, I was pleasantly surprised!


Minus the tall body lotion and plus a body soufflé that I accidentally missed out on the photo, this was the contents of the tin. I'm not a fan of bath fizzers so I quickly got that out the way with first and used it up before it gathered dust. All the products smelt of cakes (really!). So sweet and feminine. The moisturizer I am really happy with. The consistency is perfect, and absorbs into the skin very quickly considering! The bubble bath produced loads of bubbles, although I will admit, the scent didn't hang around for too long before it vanished.

Overall, taking a rough estimate at the full price of this, I think it serves well. (Purchased from wilko's).

Have you received any cheap products that you've been impressed with? I guess its not always higher priced products that cut the barrel!


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Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Pretty Positives #4

Wow, this will be my last pretty positives post of January, where DOES the time go?!

First of all, Hi to my new followers! I've noticed a slight increase in the past day or so. I just wish Blogger would actually inform you of individual people that have followed because they just get mixed up in my followers so I can never find out who the new viewers are.. I do like to check them out to see what they're all about and maybe even give a follow back, should I like their blog.

Anyway, straight into my weekly positives!

* This has got to be by far the biggest positive out of the whole month - I've actually gone and bought a car! You may (or may not) know, I have had problem after problem with my car. Ok, lets reminisce..  Its broke down on me 3 times on the motorway (and I very rarely venture out of my town as it is!). One of those times was on the way to a job interview in Leeds a few winters ago. It made me late but I still got offered the job! (But never took it). Another time was last summer, it was my boyfriends 30th birthday and we were heading to Manchester for a weekend break and my car never let me down, right on cue, half an hour away from Manchester (in fact we were near Eureka, I remember it quite clearly!) and BAM. That lost 5 hours of precious time in a luxury hotel room I had booked. There was another time but I can't remember. As for breaking down in my town, I think I'd need 2 pairs of hands to count the amount of times that happened. I've broke down in car parks where I've had to get either my dad or brother to come jump start me in all hours, or I'll be at work at a clients house and my car will decide I'm staying put, right outside their house.  I've been pushed off junctions to a safer place by creepy workmen who only helped me 'cos I was cute' (Gee, thanks!).. the list is endless. Oh, did I also mention I was bashed from behind by some stupid guy who was 'looking the wrong way' on my actual birthday? That car is jinxed! So yes.. I've been saying for probably a year now 'I'm getting a new car in the next 2 months' then a super expensive holiday will crop up. Then I'll say 'When I get back, I'm getting a new car...' then something else will happen, or we'll hit a barrier... I promised myself I'd get one before the year is out (2013), so I'm only a month late.. but least I've stopped procrastinating and made sure that every barrier I hit, I overcame it. I think the fact that my 1st gear is completely 'out of order' and my 3rd gear was beginning to pop out, as well as my drivers window jamming and not being able to open just swayed it for me. (Or maybe the fact that I realized I can't drive through McDonalds drive-thru with a window that doesn't open also swayed it, I'm not sure)... Either way, I'VE DONE IT! And I'm collecting it on Friday. It's not my dream car, and I'm not in love with it (both the style or colour) but it'll suffice for the next couple of years :-)

* The last week I was worrying about 3 work-related things, and wasn't looking forward to beginning the week at all. But, as I'm slowly discovering, it never was as bad as I made it out to be in my head. Maybe because 2 of the things didn't happen, haha.. but the 3rd was a biggy for me, and although it wasn't a fantastic experience, I soldiered through it and made it out at the other end.

* I've gone 1 whole month and not bought any un-necessary make-up/bath/shower products, which means I've saved money (which is our aim for the next few months). I've only bought 2 beauty items which were essential, because I had ran out. I'm really enjoying forcing myself to use all my products up. Its quite satisfying knowing that not only are you saving money because I would have probably ignored what I already have, and go out and buy more, just because its something new, or the packaging is cute, or whatever, but I also get a satisfied contented feeling every time I put an empty bottle/jar/sachet/tube in the bin, knowing I have used it and not wasted it. I strangely like making myself use products that I don't actually like as well (i.e. gifts that other people may have bought me). I hate knowing that something has been wasted, so I'd rather find some use for it then throw the whole thing away. I remember once I had this raspberry body scrub which I hated, the consistency was horrible and it just felt really cheap. But of course, I couldn't just throw it away, so I remember using up 3/4's of the tube in one go (ok, half of that probably slipped down the plug) but I 'used' the majority, just so I could get rid, but not say I'd wasted it. Yeah... a little strange, I know!

* I've cancelled my GlossyBox subscription. In some ways, this isn't a positive for me, because of course its leaving me short of a little gift every month. However, not only will I be saving money, but I've seen GB go downhill massively over the years. I have been subscribed since day 1, back in May 2011 and the box content was becoming poor. I have been telling myself to do this for months, but of course I couldn't bring myself to do it because it was like taking a treat away from myself every month (even though I still have Birchbox). So I think I deserve a pat on the back for biting the bullet and unsubscribing!

Think positive* I've also began to look into décor for our hallway. I've had it in my head since the day we moved in how I'd like it to look. The hallway and landing is the only part of the house that we haven't touched since we moved in 2.5yrs ago. This time though I'm going to take my time and buy things that I truly love, instead of just rushing for an impulse buy to later regret it. I bought a sample paint pot over the weekend (especially made on the spot for me, oooo!) and came home with a few wallpaper samples as well.

- On a side note, I will be doing daily Instagram snaps during the month of February because although I don't have a crazy month planned, I do have a few things up my sleeve that I think will be worth snapping, so I'm hoping to wing the rest of the month! I will gather all my snaps up and post them fortnightly (I have tried uploading them on a weekly basis before but sometimes it gets too much with work and the headaches I suffer with on an evening..). I will be putting these alongside my pretty positive posts, so keep your eyes peeled! If you want to follow me daily, come find me on Instagram - kateld85.





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Sunday, 26 January 2014

Sale Buys: Glitter Ankle Wellies

I remember when I first saw ankle wellies.. I thought they were cute yet bizarre. Fast forward a year or two and I spotted these in the F&F sale for a mere £5. How could I resist that?!




I have annoyingly wide calves so often struggle to get boots and wellies to fit me in the leg, so these are perfect. They are practical both for the yucky rainy snowy weather we have in England, but I can imagine these to be quite versatile due to the colour as well.. and the little flecks of glitter? Well.. that's just a bonus!

I can't wait to go on a few country walks with these! I'm scared that once I start wearing these, I wont stop!

Have you ever owned any ankle wellies before?

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Friday, 24 January 2014

GlossyBox - 'Back to Basics' & a Farewell.

I almost never wrote this post, but then I thought to mark the end of an era and all that..

So I have been with GlossyBox right from Day 1, which I believe was right back in May 2011. I've never missed a box but I can honestly say, as the months have passed by, the Wow factor has decreased massively. Not because the novelty has worn off (because believe me, I still get excited every time I receive a new box), but the effort (or lack of) they seem to put into it.

Every once in a while, they'd put a 'Wow factor' box out there, maybe to keep people interested, and to grab everyone's attention back, but then it'd go straight back downhill for months after that. Products started to become not so luxury, but instead High Street products that you could pick up for a few quid. That took the excitement and luxury out of it. A part of being subscribed to a beauty box was the excitement of knowing you owned an item that was worth a few bob. Even if no one else knows, there's a feeling of almost contentment inside knowing that, on your bathroom shelf sits a cream that's worth £60 full size (whether it does the job or not is a different matter!). As well as receiving cheaper products, they'd also be teamed with sample size (and I mean sample squirt-the-perfume-4-times-and-its-gone-size), not to mention the fact that you'd probably be able to pick it up for free at your local boots. Occasionally you'd receive a decent sample size perfume bottle, one that would last you a weeks holiday, now those; they were good.
Another problem that I saw happening more and more - repeat products, or products that were the same brand, but just a slight different version, or colour. I've lost count of the amount of mineral based eyeshadows/bronzers/blushers I received in those miniature pots that are too small to even get a brush in.

Glossy did do a handful of products that stood out, the first one being the NARS item which I received in their first ever box.

I will say in terms of packaging, Glossy beats Birchbox hands down. They now have a new improved box (which, would you believe, is finally glossy!) and slightly larger of size. I love these boxes, and have created them into my own storage boxes for beauty items, labeling them individually and stacking them in my dressing room. I have also wrapped many of these in pretty paper and given them as gifts (not the box, but full with items!). Birchbox on the other hand, the box, although strong, was of a cardboard material (to look at visually too) and it is of an awkward size which prevents you from putting full size products in.

Half way during my time with Glossy, I also subscribed to Birchbox. Just like Glossy, this occasionally had (and still has) its bad months whereby it doesn't hit all the right notes, however this is rare compared to Glossy. I usually receive 6 items with Birchbox (sometimes 7), one being a lifestyle item (i.e. food/drink/hair item), and admittedly its not often you receive a full size product, however you do receive a lot of, what I call 'half sizes' - more 75ml products, and this I like.

I understand that it would be impossible for these companies to suit everyone, every month, its just not going to happen. But I felt like less and less effort was being put into them, they were struggling to get hold of new brands to promote their items and it just wasn't drawing me in.

For these reasons, and the fact that I'm trying to save money this year, I have cancelled my subscription and have decided to work on getting through my stash of products. I am still in receipt of Birchbox.. I wouldn't be able to cancel them both.. who would treat me each month then?!

Here is jut a quick round-up of this months Glossy Box, which was 'Back to Basics'. I was so glad this was a poor box because it made it so much easier for me to justify unsubscribing!



L-R
Vaseline Clean Feeling Lotion. Definitely not a wow product for me knowing I can go collect it from Superdrug for a few pounds. I've tried this on my skin and the consistency is really thin. The scent is non-existent and it left my skin feeling pretty tacky.
Balance Me Super Toning Body Wash - Again, the brand didn't make my eyes pop knowing I could pick it up from Boots. The smell is fairly oriental and woody, which is not my cup of tea. Its a good size however to take on a weekend away.
Yu-Be Moisturising Skin Cream. This originates from Japan and they swear by it over there. As soon as I saw this I was disappointed because I only received a sample of this about 5 months ago so its nothing new. Not only that.. there were 2 of them! I suppose the good thing is they can be used anywhere on the body that is suffering from dry skin.
Anatomicals Puffy The Eye Bag Slayer. I know this brand is stocked in Tescos. These do look intriguing - You get 2 packs (2 applications worth) which are in a vacuum packed sachet. The eye pads are surrounded by water (of some sort) which I'm guessing keeps them moist and consists of those magic ingredients! These claim to reduce under-eye puffiness, dark circles and helps prevent under eye ageing. I thought they would be some form of tissue material but from the packaging, they look almost plastic/silicone, so I am rather curious about these.
The Vintage Company Tweezers. Pretty floral tweezers, but do I use tweezers? No, because I'm a wimp! So these £8 tweezers will either get passed onto someone else or sold.... or maybe put in a giveaway? Who knows.

It's been good Glossy, but not good enough.

Farewell!



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Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Pretty Positives #3

This weeks positives have (yet again) been fairly simple and are ones that would have gone by un-noticed had it not been for this post.

I do lead quite a boring life - I work 9-5 in the week and have a less than active social life due to being at that age where all my friends (but me!) have children, so spending time with friends is often limited, and when I do get chance to catch up with them, it tends to be doing the same things, so you're not going to read any outrageous 'I sang on karaoke this weekend' or 'I tried a pole dancing class for the first time' in my weekly positives I'm afraid! I don't get out that much!

Anyhow, without further ado, here are my weekly positives (oh, and just to clarify, if you think I'm referring to 'week' as the week I'm in, and are left thinking 'but its only Tuesday' - 2014 actually started on a Tuesday, so when I refer to 'weekly positives' it's the last 7 days in my diary, just to clarify for those a tad confused!). So when you see 'Pretty Positives #3' or 'Pretty Positives #45' you'll know how many weeks of the year have already passed, not like that isn't a depressing reminder for you of how fast time really does go...

*(Now this one is pretty sad and I'm a little embarrassed to be broadcasting this on here, BUT) - Me and my boyfriend played charades on Saturday night (yep, I told you I lead a limited life!). Basically we're on a bit of a spending ban in order to save a few pennies. I'm one for playing games, because it means we have to interact (how easy is it to slip into that same old routine of both sitting on the sofa - one playing playstation or watching a film (i.e. him) and the other on the ipad/laptop reading blogs, comping or spending endless amounts of time on Youtube (i.e. me), and the hours pass by without saying a word) - it happens in our house all the time. Anyway, getting back to the positive! We only played this for about 45 mins - 1hr, before we were rudely interrupted by Match of the Day (gay!), but we (or I!) had fun. We both actually laughed - me at his poor acting, and him at my poor guessing skills (i.e. 'Batmale' instead of 'Batman'). Next time I thought about turning it into a proper games night..dragging a few more games out the loft, putting a few snacks out, cracking open that bottle of wine (or in my case Amaretto) that's been in the kitchen like.. forever, and just having fun. Its actually made me think about hosting a few games nights this year, just to add variety to our lifestyle.

*I won my first competition of the year last night (which I'm sure I'll blog about soon, cos its too pretty not to!). Then today I won another. Both fairly small prizes, but wins nonetheless. I put a lot of effort into my comping (when I'm in the right mood) so its nice to know it pays off. A lot of people just say I'm 'lucky' - but I don't often see it like that. A lot of my prizes are down to pure effort and time on my part, and the competition is actually judged, so its not really 'luck'. I agree some are, but then my time has still gone into it. Either way - I'm going through an addicted stage at the mo, like obsessive addictive.. I'm on my phone when I'm cooking, in the bath (although I try not to do this too often in fear of dropping it!).

*I'm still enjoying watching Breaking Bad. I think we're 3 (maybe 4) seasons in. I've never watched so much of 1 programme in such a short space of time! Either way, I'm not surprised its won awards. It takes a lot for me to 'get into' something, so if you're not a big TV addict, I do recommend this!

*I've had a few jacket potatoes this past week and I've really been enjoying them. I'll go through phases with jackets where I won't eat them for months and months on end, then I'll get back into them again. I've been having them with luxury butter, beans & Tesco's finest quality coleslaw (which I have also adopted an obsession for). I can't stand cheap coleslaw, so this is bloody gorgeous.

That's it for this week! I'm sure I've missed a few things off, but when I come to write this I always forget.. I must start writing them down!


Optimism
Source - weheartit.com
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Sunday, 19 January 2014

Fun in Florida! Islands of Adventure (Universal Studios)

I'm almost at the end of my Florida series now, and I've left the best till last.

Today I'm going to cast my mind back to my day in Islands of Adventure. Now this was a new park to me. The last time I went to Florida I was 13 and I can't remember if this park even existed. This is part of Universal Studios, although a separate park altogether, it's the 'sister' if you like. However they are right next door to each other and kinda merge into one at the entrance, so it's really easy access if you want to switch between the two parks half way throughout your day (this is what we did).

This park was much the excitement for my boyfriend as it has a Marvel Superhero Island, so all things comic and superhero - my boyfriend was in his element. Every so often Spiderman would run across the road when you were least expecting it, and you'd all scurry around him to have your photo taken. The Spiderman ride was actually one of my favourite of this park, SO good and something you know you'd never experience back in the UK. The special effects were amazing and I recommend anyone who is going to definitely check out this ride, no matter how long the queue is. Speaking of queues, we paid an extra $40 to get priority queuing. Most times it benefited us but other times they weren't really needed. The Incredible Hulk Coaster was also in this section - I'm not usually a fan of rollercoasters but this one was different to the rest, and I can't put my finger on why now (because its been too long!) but I remember coming off the ride thinking 'I wouldn't mind doing that again later'.




Toon Lagoon was also a favourite of mine - it was full of larger than life cartoon characters and random animated objects that could be used as photo props. There were little waterfalls that were dotted all over the place that you could either play in or just briefly walk through for a cool down! Toon Town had 2 main water rides - Dudley Do-Right Ripsaw Falls, which was a log flume type right, with a fantastic drop at the end! They also had Popeye and Blutos Bilge-Rat Barges which was a raft ride. This wasn't as good as Dudley's, but was still fun and lasted a long time (which is always a bonus!). I remember getting absolutely soaked on this ride though, and my feet were squelching for a good few hours after! There was also Olive's boat for kids to play on with water guns etc, but for obvious reasons I didn't see this part..








The Jurassic Park section was another one of my faves, purely because of the River Adventure. Its set out just like it is on the film, you go through ponds and random dinosaurs are popping up out of the water. You then enter the lab (or whatever it was! It looked familiar from the film though!) and you see them at work experimenting... you know something is about to happen and your excitement/anxiety builds up as the suspense gets too much.. then... I'm not going to spoil it for you, but lets just say the ending is amazing!



The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Now I've never been a huge fan of this.. I've watched some of the films but I can either take or leave it, so I might not have appreciated this as much as the fans would. However as you can imagine, this part was created just like the film. The Hogwarts Express was there, the castles with the snow topped roofs (full size) and a few rides that all related to the film in some way. I remember riding on these but can't remember too much about them. What I will say though is I was really impressed with how much detail they put into their shops in this section. Every shop was related to Harry Potter, but what was inside the shops for 'decoration' was fab - their window displays were full of jars of (what looked like) green gunk/slime with random fleshy looking things inside, the ceilings of these shops had loads of things attached to them. Magic wands dancing, hands that would grab you.. so much that I can't remember. We actually had dinner in Harry Potter land, and even the restaurants are Harry Potter themed (right down to the food and drink!). Mike got a butter beer (I wasn't brave enough, until I realized it wasn't actually real beer but tasted like icecream soda instead, doh!).







The other 2 sections were The Lost Continent (which contained things like ancient temples, Poseidon etc), and Seuss Landing, which was dedicated more for children.




This park was by far one of my top ones during my stay. It had a good balance of everything, and writing this has helped me to re-live it in my head all over again!

Are you going to Florida this year? Make sure this is on your theme park list!



 
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Friday, 17 January 2014

Birchbox: Tiny Tweaks

I've felt like it's been an age and a day since my last beauty box, so this one was much awaited for!

This box is based on our New Years Resolutions. It's focus is instead of setting ourselves massive targets that we are almost 100% going to fail, to instead set ourselves smaller ones, or 'tweaks' as they have referred to them, but tweaks that by the years end, have had a big impact on our life. Looking at resolutions as tiny bitesize pieces instead of one annual huge target is a little less daunting and something that we are more liable to achieve.


The first thing I noticed about this box is they have changed their internal packaging slightly. Instead of receiving the fabric drawstring bag, they were placed in baby pink tissue paper instead. Personally I find this more useful (recycling for gifts!). The drawstring bags I struggled to find a use for, and just used to keep them for the sake of it. I think I used one once, and that was for a weekend away to put dirty underwear in! I'd be intrigued to what you use yours for, so pop a comment below!

I was really happy with this box due to the variety. It really has got THE perfect array of products for every part of your beauty regime - hair, body, face and health. Not to mention the cult product that has been doing its rounds for the last month or so in the blogosphere.

From L-R

Phillip Kingsley Moisture Balance Conditioner - I've literally just finished a Phillip Kingsley Moisture mask, and as you know, I'm not massive on hair products, so although this wasn't the most exciting product, I know my hair could do with any savior product at the moment because it's feeling horrible. The only downside to this product is its only 20ml, so it'll just cover one application and that's it (and maybe not even that due to the length of my hair!) so I won't be able to give this a proper trial run to see if I like it.

Benefit PoreFessional. I love silky primers, and although I'm not excited to try this out as such (mainly because I'm actually trialing a primer at present which I think is amazing, so I've become quite comfortable with that), I do however like the concept that I have received a Benefit item in general, mainly because its nice to recognize and receive a well loved brand.

Rodial GlamTox (Night). Although this specifies 'Night' on the tube, it does state it can be worn in the morning instead. It claims to smooth over complexion and plump fine lines. It retails at £75 for a full size so something must be good about it!

Vasanti Detox Facial Cleanser. I'm excited to try this out because it states it is a foam cleanser, which I love. It claims to wash away toxins and 'any last traces of foundation' which I always seem to have lingering on my skin.

Premae Anatomy Nutrients Instant Renewal Body Oil. I've really got into my body creams of late. Whether because I know I'm on a mission to reduce my ever-growing stash of them or not, I don't know! But either way, I've got into the habit of applying creams to my body (almost) after every bath/shower. I do have a body shop body oil in my stash that I rarely touch, and I do tend to prefer to wear oils more in the summer, maybe on my legs to give them a bit of a sheen too, because I don't like feeling too greasy, however I am looking forward to giving this a whirl. It claims to not only moisturize, but tone and detoxify the skin too.

Itsu Miso Soup. All previous food samples I have been sent via Birchbox, I can honestly say I haven't liked. I have received quite a few herbal teabags before which I'm really not a fan of. This soup has intrigued me because instead of it being a powder, its a paste. It also claims to be only 42kcals, so although its good health wise, low calorie food doesn't always taste the best, c'mon, admit it! I will however fetch this to work with me to try out (tomorrow, maybe!) and give it a whirl. It states a few ingredients on it (wakame, spring onion and tofu) so so far, I'm not convinced! It's also £2.25 for 3 sachets which I think is a little pricey!

Were you impressed with this months Birchbox?



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Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Pretty Positives #2



I aimed to get these posts out every Tuesday, and the 2nd week into it and I'm already a day late.. I do apologise.. I had the worlds heaviest headache last night after work that I neglected everything except the sofa all night, and the last thing I wanted to do was look at a computer screen.

Anyway! Onto this weeks positives... and I'm actually struggling to think of a great deal, but here are just a few that have stood out.

* At the weekend I had lunch with my friend. So not only did I do something that I enjoy (eating out!), but we got to catch up (which sometimes is hard now due to life's commitments), AND I got to sample a new restaurant/café that I'd never experienced before. So 3 positives all rolled into one there!

* You may laugh at this one but - I created a new chores rota for our house (something that's needed to be done for a long time). You see I live with my boyfriend, who, lets just say, isn't the best at house work. I make everything spotless, and he comes home and undoes it all, to put it mildly. He only ever cleans up if I ask/nag/leave a note, and fails to use his own initiative. Going back to the rota - we had one last year that worked for a few months, till it ran out, and we never did another one (simply because my boyfriend began to refuse to work off a rota, believing it was 'childish'.. however in my eyes it was him that was making it a childish situation because he didn't do the work in the first place!) anyway.. fast forward a few months and I went against his wishes and created another rota whilst he was at work over the weekend (so he had no choice!).. needless to say, the jobs are slowly beginning to get done again. Bless him and his little tick list.

It's boring* Mike (my boyfriend, I can never remember if I usually refer to him with his name or just 'boyfriend'!) bought me a stash of Yankee candles for Christmas, and I've been enjoying lighting a few in my bedroom, jumping in the shower and then coming back to a gorgeously scented bedroom. I then snuggle up in some nice fresh clean sheets (with my fresh PJs!), pop a lamp on and read a few chapters of my book. Such a simple 'set-up' but one that has recently been making me happy, and something I almost look forward to doing every night. I just love the lighting, the scent in the air and the relaxing vibes it tends to release. See, sometimes its just the simple things that make us happy!

I've actually had a pretty crappy week in terms of health (I don't normally get 'ill') but this past week I haven't felt quite right. Most of that seems to have passed now but my daily headaches are coming back along with a horrible fatigue in my head/eyes. As previously stated, this knocked me for 6 yesterday and all plans went out the window when I got home because I couldn't bare to do a single thing. Mid afternoon today whilst I was at work I felt it kicking in again, so I've dosed up on some ibuprofen in hope that it'll disappear and not ruin another night, and so far it seems to be dissolving. There's also a few errands that I've been procrastinating/worrying about so haven't got those done yet. However, I have managed to find some positives, and those are the things that keep us going :-)
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Friday, 10 January 2014

Review: N Spa 'Candy' Bubblebath

A few days after Christmas and I happened to be browsing down one of Asda's aisles and came across a load of bath time treats that were in the sale.



These little cuties caught my eye first, I'm not sure if it was the pretty pastel colours or the names of them, but either way, I had to have them, and at £1.25 for all 4 bottles, I couldn't really grumble (I almost picked up 2 sets but told myself no because I already had a basket full of other stuff!)

The scent of them isn't as over-powering as I'd have hoped. If you don't know me, I like real strong sweet smelling bath products, and the scent is fairly subtle in the bottle. However once popped in a bath, the scent appears to come alive, and although it doesn't fill the bathroom with glorious sugar smelling candy sweets as probably LUSH products would, it did have a subtle linger around the bath area. They also provide a nice frothy amount of bubbles that seem to stick around for a while, and don't dissolve within a few minutes of having a soak, which I liked.



I love the packaging of these little bottles - the sticker has a hint of vintage to it, stating 'made with love', which reminds me of handmade items that you'd find on Etsy. Topped with a small cupcake and a name that makes you just want to grab and eat it (yes 'Pink Macaroon' and 'Sugared Almond' I'm looking at you!). And if all those don't float your boat, then just buy them purely on the colours! I've used the hot pink one so far, the other 3 colours are sitting perfectly in my dressing room that I can't bring myself to use them just yet!

Did you find any bath bargains in the sales this year?!

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Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Pretty Positives #1

With it being a fresh new year, and the end of the first week of 2014, I have decided to share my weekly positives for a whole year. That should equate to a whole 52 posts dedicated to positive-ness!

When I used to do Youtube videos, I did a similar thing whereby every month I used to list my positives, as well as my favourites of that month (i.e. favourite book, TV programme, event etc...). I kinda miss doing those and think its important to remind ourselves that there is always positives in our lives, sometimes in the most gloomiest of places, if you look hard enough, a positive will be there, no matter how small.

Imagine - Your morning alarm went off and the last thing you wanted to do was get out of bed, but you do because you have to go to work. You feel so tired. You begin getting dressed and realize you're having a 'fat ugly' day (yes girls, we all have them!). You go downstairs and stub your toe. You leave the house, drive half way down the road and realize you've forgotten your work's ID (this happens to me occasionally!). You have to drive back, which now makes you 5 minutes behind schedule. You begin your journey again to realize that there are new temporary traffic lights a few streets. Wow, where did they come from? Now the tail-back of traffic is so bad you know you're going to be late. You begin to get a little anxious due to this. You arrive 2 minutes late for work. Only 2 minutes but to you, its not good. You sit at your desk and the manager approaches you and informs you that a colleague has gone off work sick, and you are to take over some of their clients. One of these clients just so happens to be quiet intense and have a lot of agencies working with them, which makes life more difficult for you. This stresses you out.

Ok.. you get this picture.. all that has happened within the space of 2 hrs. You've got so much of the day left, and so much more time for more things to go wrong. Why not just crawl back to bed now and be done with it? Well unfortunately its not that easy (unless you're brave and pull a sicky whilst you're at work!). However facing all these problems head on will not only make you feel better at the end of the day because it will provide you with the satisfaction and confidence to know you have battled through all those issues, but it will also make you a stronger person in the long-term. Instead of walking away from more difficult situations, be brave and try soldiering through and think of how fantastic that accomplishment would feel at the end of it all.

If you're strong enough to battle through that yucky morning that you've just experienced then well done.. the day only got worse. At the end of it, you got home, flopped out on the sofa with a huge sigh of relief that its all over and now you feel nice and drained, complaining that 'that was the worst day ever'. You cannot possibly see any positives in the day, because in your mind, it was bad from the word go. And yes, from the outside, it was horrible, of course it could have been much much better, but it wasn't. However, you had the ability to push through all the issues. You solved everything that was thrown at you and you carried on till it was all over. That in itself is a positive.

My point of this (extra long, get-to-the-point) post is no matter how small the positive is, you found one. Even if you experienced a similar day to the one above, but at the end of the day your boyfriend/fiancée/husband (whoever!) made you the best cup of tea that you really enjoyed, there you go, there is your positive! Hopefully most days you wont have to dig too deep to find the positives because your days will be full of them!

Some people are too quick to state that they've had a 'crap day' - when you ask why, they may list the most simplest of thing (for example 'I got to work and forgot my lunch') that to you is nothing - Lets call it 'mood threshold' - people's toleration of what 'life throws at them' can vary from person to person. We have to remind these people that life could be far worse than just forgetting your lunch! Life is too short to focus on the negatives all the time, so this weekly reminder is to remind me (and all you!) that no matter how crap life is at times, its never as bad as it first appears.

Life
Photo - weheartit.com

Ok - Before this turns into some form of essay, lets get cracking with my weekly positives!

♥  I don't often watch TV, but have recently been introduced to a TV series that originally came out in 2008 ('Breaking Bad'). My boyfriend has downloaded all the series, and in the past week, we've already got through 2 full series. I love it and get excited when I know I'm about to watch it again. As a bonus, my boyfriend also likes it too (we don't usually share the same interests when it comes to film/TV!) so its nice to watch something together for a change. This TV time also gives me a (much-needed) break from all technology.

♥ I'm doing well with my NY's resolutions and have made a dent in just about every one of them (err, I should hope so too Kate, a week into the NY!)

♥ I'm reading a book that I'm really enjoying, and look forward to reading that before I got to bed each night.

♥ I cooked a new recipe a few nights ago that I have never tried before. Granted I wouldn't rush to make it again, however I still introduced a new recipe into the house. I like to mix things up with my cooking but its so easy to fall back into simple, boring meals.

Not massive, but there ya go!

Whose gonna join me in my Pretty Positives mission?! (please link back if so, and pop your links in the comments below so I can read yours! Or tweet me @katelou11)


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Monday, 6 January 2014

Where else to find me?

Its a fresh new year, and I don't know about you, but I've had my blog cull, and now I'm after some fresh viewing material.

I don't often promote my other channels on here, and some of you may not have noticed my contact icons on my blog, therefore I'm going to leave you the links here for you to view at your own leisure..

Pinterest - I go through stages with this website. I'll spend a few weeks on this, pinning at least every day, then I wont touch it for months. That has been the case of late, but I'm slooowly starting to get back into it. I have a ha-uuuge variety of boards, so I'm sure there's something for everyone on there, so pop along for a nosey!

Twitter - I think I started my twitter account way back at Christmas 2011, but then didn't use it. I've only just got back into the swing of things the last few months, and now I'm on it every day. I won a few competitions on there over Christmas so its become my new best friend ;-) Come follow me @katelou11

Instagram - I've been using this for just over a year now and love it. Occasionally throughout the year you will see me doing a monthly instagram challenge (whereby I post every day for a whole month). I don't however lead a very exciting life so try and only pick the months where I know a lot is happening! I of course post in between but only when something really takes my fancy! Either way, come and follow me at kateld85.

So those are my accounts.. I'd love it if you stopped by and checked them out!

this is my life | via Tumblr
Photo courtesy of weheartit.com
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Sunday, 5 January 2014

2013 Reflection

With a brand spanking new year being only a matter of hours away, I thought I'd take this time to reflect over 2013 to see what it brought...

Travel - I had to look over photos in order to remind me what has actually happened this year and noticed I've done my fair share of travelling. June saw me go on the biggest and most anticipated holiday of them all - Florida, something that I'm actually still halfway through blogging about now. This holiday brought back so many childhood memories which have almost been erased and replaced, which is sad. The holiday also stamp-marked a few issues with my family and made me open my eyes to others personalities; something of which I will not discuss on here but was a turning point for me. A month later both me and my boyfriend spent a few days in Manchester in a gorgeous hotel for his 30th birthday. A month later I was lucky enough to win an all inclusive holiday to Turkey, so we jetted off again to spend a week in the Autumn sunshine. No sooner had we landed on English soil, we were trotting off to London for a few days, mainly so my boyfriend could go to Comic-con (another birthday present). Fast forward 4 weeks and I had won yet another competition to go back to London for an all expense paid trip to Pineapple Studios (which included a dance class, being judged by Arlene Phillips(!), tea at The Hilton, West End show (Billy Elliot FYI) and a hotel). So all in all, 2013 has been rather kind to me on the travel front!



Family/Relationships - Without going into TMI, I have almost learnt to accept an ongoing issue with my boyfriend. It's been hard, and at times I've come close to ending our relationship but I have to remind myself that no-ones relationship is 100% perfect, no matter how flawless it appears on the outside.
My mum moved house - a house I'd spent the last 8yrs of my life in before moving into my own home. This is the first home of my mums that I officially have never lived in (or never will). In a strange way, that thought is a little scary. It's a reminder that I'm an adult and will never live with my mum again. I have lived in my own home 2.5yrs and never had a problem with it till my mum actually moved, and the above thought then entered my head. Silly little thought process I have!
My niece is growing up way too quick and I only realized it a few days ago after not having seen her for 5 months. I noticed how her speech has developed and she is stringing sentences together a lot more now, and saying things that you wouldn't expect a 3 and half yr old to say! This saddened me a little, even though she isn't my child. She's growing up and slowly losing her baby cuteness.

Work Life - I have come to a point at work where I feel I am just plodding, and hitting the 'stop' button one too many times now. Lots of things have changed, and still are changing. It seems new rules are constantly being put in place and management appear a lot more stricter which is making it a more 'nervy' place to work (for reasons I wont go into on here). My actual job role I feel I have lost all love for to the point of almost not caring at all. I remember when I first started my job, hand on heart, I used to love it. Then as a year or 2 passed, this 'love' turned into 'ok', fast forward another 2 years, has now turned into 'dread'. I count the hours down each day which is not how I want to live.

Hobbies/Interests - For those that don't know, I'm a comper in my spare time, and this year has been the biggest so far in terms of prizes (which makes sense, considering the time and effort I've put into it!). It's paid off a lot though, and I've won some really good stuff (which I'm contemplating doing a blog post on). It gives me such a buzz and I've become addicted. Unfortunately its a time consuming hobby so I'm trying to make the most of it before I have children! I sometimes even struggle to do it just with a full time job and running a house! My other interests are obviously blogging. The last few months I've become addicted to reading certain bloggers (which can be quite time consuming but so inspirational!). I do try and blog as much as I can but comping takes first priority with me a lot of the times. As of a few days ago (Christmas day, to be exact) I also adopted another hobby, something I've been wanting to get into for a long time, sewing! My boyfriend kindly bought me a sewing machine which I've already spent a fair few hours on. Soon I wont have any spare time left! Its still early days yet but I aim to be making small home accessories by the summer. 2013 was also the year I decided to hang up my camera (and tripod!) and call it a day with filming Youtube videos. It was taking up too much of my time, and although I do miss it at times, I never closed the door completely, and promised to be back with the odd Primark Haul (which I have in fact footage waiting on my camera from a month or so ago, oops!). I do still upload my travel videos there though, when I have the time.

Health - This is a bit of a sore subject with me. Health wise I'm ok - I'm quite lucky in the fact that I've never had anything 'wrong' with me. I never visit the Dr simply because the majority of the time, I feel fine. However my weight is a different story. I'm piling the pounds on by the month and noticing clothes getting tighter and tighter, however the last few months, I've been in a strange (and arguably) worrying frame of mind. The frame of mind where I don't care how much I eat, it doesn't matter, the weight wont show, one more wont hurt, 2, 3, 5, 10 more wont hurt. It wont matter because I'm already 'chubby' so another 10 chocolates isn't going to make a difference. I've done no exercise since I care to remember, but there's been no guilt there, with any of it. This obviously makes it harder if I did want to try and do something about it, but now I feel if I do do something, I'll lose motivation, because deep down, I don't feel ready, but then my state of mind at present, I never will feel ready, therefore just getting bigger and bigger. Small tasks I'm noticing are becoming more effort now. I've lost pretty much all love for clothes shopping at the minute because I know I'll just find it depressing. Woah - I've gone off on a tangent! In conclusion (!) - 2013 has been a bad year for healthy eating. I haven't stepped on the scales for approx 5 months now (I was a weekly 'weigher-inner' before). I do have one short term plan for the new year to give my body a detox but after that, I'm not sure where I'll go...

All in all, 2013 hasn't been too bad to me! Fortunately for me, the majority of 'negative' things that have/are happening in my life, I am in control of, and I can change, which I am thankful for. It could be much, much worse.

What are your highlights of 2013? I'd love to hear them!

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Friday, 3 January 2014

Review: Elegant Touch Rainbow Leopard Nails



I picked these up when they were on offer in Superdrug about a month ago. I saved them for Christmas time (despite the lack of festiveness!). I'm not actually a fan of leopard print, but it was the colours that drew me to these.

Application

I love the fact that these, for the most part, are hassle free to apply. No messing about with glue, so they can be done on the go with no sticky fingers! It did take me a while to get used to peeling the stickers, and I initially found this quite time consuming, however I soon found a knack of how to do it. The nails were helpfully numbered, with a small 'tag' attached to each nail which helps guide you to ensure accurate application to each hand. These 'tags' were easily snapped off. I did sometimes find certain fingers didn't have a suitable sized sticker to match, although I've got very petite nails so this is a common problem for me. All large nails and stickers end up getting wasted because they're way too big for even my thumb. However I just had to work with what I had.



Longevity

I applied these the night before Christmas Eve. Christmas Eve morning came and I woke to find that one had come off during my sleep, which didn't bother me too much as the others still felt pretty intact. I went to work Christmas Eve and there wasn't any issues (although I did pop the stickers in my bag just in case!). It wasn't till Christmas Day that they really started to lose their stickiness. Just before I opened my presents I had to re-stick 2 nails. During unwrapping, I lost 2, and by midday they were all ready to come off. So on average these lasted approx 2 days.

I loved the design on these, although not too sure of the average 'lifespan' of these once applied. They occasionally left a glue-type residue (which was the remnants of the sticker). This could easily be removed.


What do you think?



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Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Welcome 2014!

My blog feed has been over-flowing with NY resolutions, and I told myself I'm not going to do one this but I do enjoy looking back on them once the year has passed, to actually see how motivated I have been. However, this year I'm going to break my resolutions into smaller sub categories, and try to avoid the common 'Try to lose weight' aims, cos lets face it, that's boring.

Health

❤ Drink more water. I honestly don't drink enough, of any fluid for that matter. If you poured all my daily fluids for one day together, I'd probably just fill 2 pint glasses. Not good. I forget how crucial water is to our bodies. Not only do we need it to digest food, but our vital organs need it as well in order to function properly and to send messages. Also it helps to oil our joints. I've noticed more pain in my knee joints this year, and this may well be a cause. I also suffer with headaches. I'll go through bouts of having headaches every single day for a few weeks on end. Again, this is probably a cause. Ok... before this turns into a biology lesson....

❤ Exercise (Yes, I know this is a common one but hear me out!). I don't do exercise, end of. I only do it when I'm on a mission to lose weight, which shouldn't be the case. At present, my body needs it more than ever now, so even if I drag my boyfriend out once a week for a long walk. One long walk is better than no walks at all.


Beauty

❤ Wash those flamin' make-up brushes more often. Uh, such a tedious task but really, germs galore on those things and I often one where those occasional blemishes come from on my cheeks. Blusher brush I'm looking at you.

❤ Have more regular hair cuts! Never been a hair person, and never probably will. I have a sister-in-law whose a hairdresser and it still doesn't change things. My hair is really long now and I haven't had a trim in a long time.

❤ This was on last years list, and although I tried, it never happened. Banish my nails of those horrid yellow stains from nail polish, which means wearing less dark colours and baring all occasionally (which is hard for me because I'm conscious of them!). It will also help if I'm not too lazy and start using a base coat EVERY time I paint my nails, and not just 'when I can be bothered'.


Hobbies/Interests

❤ Comping is a huge hobby of mine, sometimes that huge that as soon as I get in from work, I'm comping till bedtime. Because of this, I start to neglect other priorities (such as washing up.. oh the joy), so my housework occasionally suffers because I'm too busy being addicted. No matter how much of a buzz I get from it, I'm going to set myself a certain amount of hours each night.

❤ Have a blogging schedule. This has already been half compiled. I have monthly blog posts that I aim to cover each month. I may have set myself up to fail on this (because I really have to be in the mood to blog) but we'll see how we go.

❤ A new hobby came into my life at Christmas; sewing (with a machine, not by hand!). I aim to be able to do simple home accessories (i.e. shabby chic hanging heart garlands) by summer 2014. I'm a beginner, ok!

❤ This is a repeat from last year but - read a book a month. I really do love to read but I didn't manage to complete this - I think I read approx. 6-7 books in 2013, which actually isn't a great deal considering, but I recognize where I was going wrong. I was only reading in bed (and the occasional train/plane journey). Sometimes I drop into bed and I'm so tired that I just go straight to sleep, therefore not being able to pick a book up on a daily basis. So, from this year I will not keep my book on my bedside drawers, but move it around the house. Read it on the couch, whilst I'm waiting for food to be cooked, I may even take it to work and read on my dinner break, being the anti-social person I am.

Home Life

❤ Create a house chores schedule. It worked last time, it should work again.

❤ Decorate the hallway/landing and get it looking how it looks in my head

❤ Make the back bedroom more presentable (instead of a dumping ground!) and create a little 'office' space in there for me and my computer! I really miss sitting at a desk to type. I'm obsessed with stationary and notebooks, and everything having their own little place, so this will be a dream for me!

❤ Those little but annoying jobs that need doing round the house that you keep procrastinating about? Do them!


Me & My Outlook

❤ I'm not going to say stop worrying (because that would be impossible for me), but I've learnt over the past few months that its never as bad as it first appears. That situation that you've just been put in that's filled you with dread. Don't go home and fret about it all night, because when it happens, its never as bad as it first seemed, then you kick yourself for wasting all that time worrying.

❤ Lower my expectations. This is a biggy for me. This is what creates arguments. Peoples expectations of others are set too high, so when those expectations aren't met, frustration and anger set in. For example, (and a very common and real example in my life!) - I go to work and my boyfriend has a few days off - I arrive home from work expecting my tea to be waiting, and the house to be spotless. I walk through the door and the tea has only just been put in the oven, and the mess that was there before I left the house that morning? Its still there. I analyse the situation and realize that in fact my boyfriend has spent the entire day in front of the TV playing on his PS3, and hasn't moved a muscle till now. Frustration and anger sets in and I begin questioning him, asking him why he hasn't done anything. This gets a reaction and an argument begins to bubble. This is a very common argument in our household, and we've had many screaming matches over it, but I just have to learn that this is a man we're talking about. And yes, some men are very domesticated, but the majority? Far from it. I have to remind myself that its not in a mans nature do use their initiative to clean. And when they do do the cleaning, try not to be critical and think/tell them they've done a half-ar$ed job (they have, but lets not go there) and that its not up to your standards. You're a woman, and in terms of cleaning, you have different standards of home cleanliness to men, and clean in places they never even knew existed.

There's probably a few more, but this is the main bulk of it for now.

Wow, I've got a few challenges ahead of me for 2014.. bring them on!




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