Thursday, 23 October 2014

Dear Kate... What I Would Tell My 16 Year Old Self

I've seen these kind of posts doing the round for a good while now, but its not until I sat and thought about what I'd write in one the other night that I realized, actually I do have quite a lot I'd tell my 16 year old self! Although I'm gonna cheat and do a '16 - 19 yr old' one, because I can't remember specifics within a year timeframe...

Dear Kate...

That purple/pink lip balm that you used to buy from Boots and stick on your lips with your friend and wear for school, no, just no. It is thick gunk (it really was like lipstick mashed up!) and you really don't look cool with it on.

All the boys that you used to text, just play it a little more cooler, and drop the obsessiveness 'Why aren't you texting back?' malarkey after 30 minutes of inactivity.

All those nights that turned into mornings spent on MSN messenger chatting to guys, forget them and get your beauty sleep!

That bully at school that held your hands on hot radiators, put glue in your hair and then say 'Oh Dear, we're now gonna have to cut it out' - Just punch her, please!
Image - google


The guy that you secretly blamed for you failing your first 2 years at university, it was your fault. You let your heart take over, and subsequently was left with an extra 2 years of study and 2 years deeper in debt! Be strong!

Please don't start university at 18. You're just not ready..

Please PLEASE appreciate and make the most of your time being a student. Towards the end of your studies you'll be excited about joining the working world and earning your own money, but really, its all downhill from there.

Go travelling, please, go travelling! For 3 months, or 6 months, or even a year... do it! Once you get stuck in full time work there really isn't much opportunity.

That blue hair mascara that you used to stick in your hair and give yourself blue streaks... just don't.

Appreciate those who are close a little more.. they wont stay around forever.

That August bank holiday Sunday when you were 18 and had to go to work but mischievously rang in sick so you could stay with a boy, that wasn't cool or mature. Even worse, your mum followed you and found out. Serves you right.

That time when an old school friend who you hadn't seen in 5 years came to visit you from Wales but you didn't book any time off work, so she was left for 3 days to fend for herself whilst you worked. Wise move Kate, wise move.

You'll be chilling in your bedroom at 19yrs old with your cousin and she'll come up with the idea of dying your (natural) copper hair with a dark brown permanent hair dye for 'a change'. Be assertive and don't.do.it! This will be the start of hair damage, hair thinning, hair flatness, and a bloody chore every 6-8 weeks of home dyes for the next 10 yrs (and counting!)

Don't be envious of older girls, one day you'll be envious of the younger ones!

Appreciate those long summer holidays from 6th form and uni. They really are the best. Time goes so fast as you grow older which isn't always good (unless there's something big you're looking forward to!).

At 16yrs old your uncle will ask you what you want for Christmas. He will take you into town with your cousin and allow you to pick something. Bon Marche + Cream wooly jumper. Really?

Just be more assertive in all situations. Its ok to say no!

Hope you enjoyed this! I'm 30 next year so this is all my memory would give me on my younger years, although I'm sure there's many more equally embarrassing stories I have stored away somewhere in there!

If you've done one of these posts, link it below, I'd love to read them!
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Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Bridget Jones: Mad about the boy, Helen Fielding.

At the beginning of the year I made a NY resolution in regards to reading, and that was read 1 book per month. Most of you will think that's more than achievable, but being someone that only reads just before she goes to sleep, its safe to say I never get too deep into a book before it's dropping on my face through tiredness (and yes, I have done that before, it sure did wake me up!). 
A few weeks ago I jetted off for some Autumn sunshine in Tenerife, so grabbed this book as a last minute chance to provide myself with some entertainment whilst travelling. (I'm so glad I did as well because me and my boyfriend got split up on the plane, so having a book to bury your head in always seems to offer comfort!).
source: google image
This book is full of typical chick lit themes - jobs, men, flirtatious texts, online dating, sleeping together, and being left wandering where you stand!
As always, the book was wrote as a diary, each entry beginning with different statistics. At the beginning of the book Bridget was tracking her twitter followers, which she very quickly became obsessed with. Alongside this she always tracked her weight. As the book developed, she began to track other aspects of her life, such as how many texts she had exchanged with her toy boy... a lot of it made me chuckle inside as I could relate to her at points in my life (not to the point of tracking but more thought process!). 
I really enjoyed reading this, it had a few 'laugh out loud' moments (literally) which is a rarity for me (got a strange sense of humour!), and the way in which the story was written really helped you to envisage the character saying everything that was included in the book. 
It had suspense built within which is always a must with me.. I need something to keep me on my toes and eager to read more, and this book definitely had that. 
The chapters were pretty short which made it easy to put down and pick up where you left off if you just wanted a quick time killer. 
The characters were all loveable in their own right - Bridget's youngest daughter was adorable through the way in which she spoke - her childlike speech was highlighted through mis-spelt words, which helped us to imagine her pronunciation.
Blurb...
"What do you do when a girlfriend's 60th birthday party is the same day as your boyfriend's 30th?
Is it wrong to lie about your age when online dating?
Is it morally wrong to have a blow-dry when one of your children has head lice?
Does the Dalai Lama actually tweet or is it his assistant?
Is technology now the fifth element? Or is that wood?
Is sleeping with someone after 2 dates and 6 weeks of texting the same as getting married after 2 meetings and 6 months of letter writing in Jane Austen's day?
Pondering these, and other modern dilemmas, Bridget Jones stumbles through the challenges of single-motherhood, tweeting, texting and redisovering her sexuality in what SOME people rudely and outdatedly call 'middle age'.
(Taken from Amazon)
Definitely recommend this book for a light-hearted read!
Have you got any chick lits that you would recommend? I'm starting to look for christmas themed ones so fire them my way!


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Sunday, 19 October 2014

Dunelm Living Room Wishlist


There's no doubt about it, I'm obsessed with homeware and always on the look out for items to improve it. I've lived in my house just over 3 years and was getting bored of the colour scheme and style that I had originally opted for - although in true Kate style, I haven't just got bored with one room, I'm wanting to change 3 rooms in our house at present, and being one of those people that want everything yesterday, I was beginning to find it all a little overwhelming. My head was spinning with ideas on colour schemes and styles for all 3 rooms to the point where I couldn't even go to the shops to have a look for new items because I just didn't know where to start.
I'm hoping this moodboard that I've created will give me some guidance, and I've decided to start with my living room.

My living room was once a teal/grey/back colour scheme, however in the early summer I was tired of the wallpaper - I felt the style had become too popular to the point of being tacky so I stripped it, re-wallpapered and opted for a light duck egg blue paint to brighten things up. I have a love for shabby chic so I'm slowly replacing all black glass furniture with white wooden shabby chic style furniture. I only have only more piece to replace which is the TV stand, and then we're pretty much done. Today I managed to get rid of my teal curtains and replaced them with some nice cream ones that my mum had hanging around, luckily they were the perfect fit!


When we first moved in the previous owners had a gorgeous thick cream carpet down which was almost new. Obviously re wind 3 years and I had my own vision of teal and grey in my head so I pulled this poor carpet up and stuck it in the garage. Needless to say now I'm completely regretting that, I'm not sure if I can save it from all those cobwebs and spiders that have festered in it over the 3 years in the garage.. yuck!
Dunelm Living Room Wishlist - Oct 14
Here are my top 10 items that I'm in love with and would look perfect in my living room.
I already have the chandelier lampshade in my hallway and I love it that much that I'm thinking about having the same one in my living room!
I've had my eye on the canvas for over a month now, I'm just hoping it'll come down in the sales soon!
I LOVE the lace cushion effect. We have a grey couch with huge scatter cushions, however because of the colour, I need to somehow incorporate the creams/whites/blues to detract from the fact that my couch no longer matches!
I thought the hanging birdcage frames were unusual yet cute, and the sheepskin rug would look perfect in front of the fire, again, detracting from the charcoal grey carpet!
Now I have something visual to refer to, hopefully I can crack on with some home décor shopping!
 
Which is your favourite item?

Keep your eyes peeled for some 'before' and 'after' pictures coming soon!



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Thursday, 16 October 2014

October's Birchbox - 'Work It!'

Can I just start by saying I was majorly impressed with this box. I don't know if it was the whole pink theme, or the cute fabric zip bag which they don't usually do, or even the cute pen, whatever it was, it has scored top marks in my book.

This month's theme is highlighting breast cancer awareness, and has joined up with CoppaFeel which emphasizes how important it is to 'coppa feel' of your breasts, checking for any abnormalities. I don't think us girlies check as much as we should.. so before I go on any further.. coppa feel please!


Firstly.. the cute fabric canvas style zip bag. Honestly - why can't all months be like this, and replace those pesky drawstring bags that really struggle to find a use for! I actually think I'm gonna start using this to throw in my handbag for work as I'm always carrying make-up items around with me, but never seem to have a suitable size cosmetics bag. I'm counting this as a second lifestyle item in this months box, even though it's not listed down as one!

Lets take a closer look...


Pixi Shea Butter Lip Balm - 'Ripe Raspberry' (Full Size Product) - £8
I'm a daily user of lip balm because (for some unknown reason) I get really sore lips if I have nothing on them (all year round). If I have no lip balm on, I have to put lipstick on, simply to ease my lips. This one smells delish, the packaging is cute and it is apparently a buildable colour, which is always handy.

Cindy Crawford Glowing Serum (Full size Product £30.95)
This is a radiance enhancing anti - ageing serum that is applied before moisturizer. This is a fairly expensive serum so I'm intrigued of the results, although being in my late twenties, I probably wont see a benefit from the anti-ageing factor!

Balance Me Cleanse & Smooth Face Balm (Full Size - £20)
This is a natural nourishing cleanser with exfoliating oatmeal powder.. Intriguing! I can't wait to try this tonight! I really want to find a good daily facial cleanser that becomes a cult product in my routine for many years..


KMS Hair Play Dry Wax (Full size - £15)
A spray that adds second day texture to the hair with a matte finish. It smells good but I'm not massive on hair products so I may pass this onto my boyfriend (before giving it a bash myself, of course!).

The Cool Fix Gel Lotion (Full size - £11)
This lotions targets ingrown hairs, razor bumps/burns and redness. It smells nice and fresh.. lets see if it works!

Lifestyle Choice - Birchbox Lipstick Pen (£2.50)
I've had one lipstick pen before in red and it was encrusted with red diamantes, and I loved it! Unfortunately I lost it so this has just replaced that hole! I love stationary, and there's nothing cuter than writing with pink pens... lipstick ones at that!

I'm going to get full use out of pretty much all of these products (except the hair wax spray). Really impressed.. and Birchbox, if you're reading.... please replace those drawstring bags with these!


What did you think of this months Birchbox?
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Sunday, 12 October 2014

#CurrysMovieNight

A lot of us have a nostalgic film that we were obsessed with as kids, and no matter how 'childish' it may seem to us as we grow older, it always has a special place in our heart, and it never fails to entertain us throughout our years.

That film for me is Disney's Mary Poppins, starring Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke. Mary Poppins is the biggest fantasy film of them all with horses hopping off carousels, people jumping into paintings, and a magical nanny that flies with an umbrella. It's quite apt because I dislike most modern day fantasy films now, I'm more of a realist girl, however because I grew up with this film, the magic behind it all I'm used to and have grown to love it.

I can't recall this moment, but my mum tells me at 4 years old I used to steal her sweeping brush and dance along with the chimney sweepers in the living room when they came on the TV screen.. I wish she took a photo!

I know pretty much every word to the film (and yes, I'm one of those annoying people that cannot refrain from saying the odd (several hundred) lines out loud as I'm watching it, so don't sit next to me!)

Taken in Magic Kingdom, Florida, last year (and no, none of those are me stood with Pops, unfortunately!)
I love the soundtrack to the film as well, almost every song is such a feel good pick-me-up song that lingers for hours afterwards (much to the annoyance of my boyfriend!). What makes it worse - I have them on CD as part of a Disney soundtrack that I play in the car. The poor soul can't escape them! I've several times over the years acted the songs out whilst I'm in the kitchen cooking tea, actions n' all!

I couldn't even choose a favourite soundtrack if you paid me (well... ok.. maybe!). I really do love them all. My most common favourite outbursts are usually 'It's a Jolly Holiday', 'The Perfect Nanny' or 'Lets go Fly a Kite' - ahh - so many! The majority of the songs are all really upbeat tracks full of positivity, independency and encouragement that emphasis how important it is to reach for your dreams and never give up.  Although 'The Perfect Nanny' isn't necessarily upbeat, I just love the rhyming words that are included, with a little bit of humour in there for good measure; 'if you wont scold and, dominate us, we will never give you cause to hate us' 'We won't hide your spectacles so you can't see, put toads in your bed, or pepper in your tea'. It highlights how mischievous children of that age can be!
I like Uncle Albert's 'I Love to Laugh' scene whereby he is 'sitting' on the ceiling and bursts into this song, which highlights how important it is to laugh in life; "The more I laugh, the more I'm a merrier me" - so true. They then continue to have a tea party.. yes.. on the ceiling. I think laughing in general is a feel-good factor that lifts everyone's spirits.




What I love about this musical is that all of the main characters in the film each have their own personality and contribute with a song to match this, unlike some other musicals where it always appears to be the same character's singing, which can get a little tiresome. I like variation!

The whole soundtrack is something I can sing along too, reminisce about my own childhood, and the songs are easy enough to teach to my own children one day.



I'm currently teaching my 4 year old niece the words to the famous 'Supercalifragalisticexpialidocious,' a word to say when you don't know what to say! I'm determined to keep my love for it in the family, and until I have children of my own, my niece is my next best option! I must film her trying to sing it sometime.. it's so sweet!

I was so sad when I realized Mary Poppins was touring in the West End and I'd missed all the dates... when I discovered this she was making her way through Broadway in New York. Unfortunately I didn't quite persuade my boyfriend to take me to New York, no matter how many times I fluttered my eyelashes at him... maybe next time! ;-)

And just for the sake of this blog post, I may, just may, stick the DVD on right now, just talking about it has got me all giddy!

I'm always intrigued to know (but never will find out!) - If I was to watch Mary Poppins now for the first time, at the age of 29, would I like it? Hmmm... who knows!


Mary Poppins, Practically Perfect in Everyway.

This is my competition entry to #currysmovienight with Currys PC world. Find details here about the competition, but hurry, the deadline is midnight on 12th October!
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Saturday, 11 October 2014

Loro Parque, Tenerife

For those of you who read my previous post you will know I have recently come back from Tenerife.

It was a last minute getaway for us, so unlike normal, not a lot of planning/research went into our trip, we did however decide one thing, and that was to visit Loro Parque. None of us are animal lovers by a long shot, but the area we were staying in was really quiet with not a great deal to do, so this helped break the week up.

We got talked into buying VIP passes which entitled us to priority seating at all shows,  lunch as well as a behind the scenes tour with a guide.



Upon entering (after having standard photo taken with 2 parrots that you could later buy.. the photo that is.. not the parrots!) we walked round the park and began to notice how well kept the park was... all grass lawns looked perfect, cleaners were inside animal areas cleaning the glass, there were staff watering plants everywhere.. it just felt like it was really looked after which is always nice to know.


Because we were VIPs (its not often I can say that!) we were given a recommended schedule on which shows to watch at certain times.. we stuck to this because it was just easier. We took a slow stroll round the park, seeing a huge range of animals. The monkeys were my favourites as always - one older monkey came up to the glass (we were the only ones viewing them at this time) and he had a huge staring match with us, then picked up some mud and threw it at the glass right where we were stood. Safe to say if it wasn't for that glass, we would have been a little dirty! It was funny nonetheless.

Guy in question!
Our first show was the Dolphins, and they were so cute. Very intelligent too. My favourite moment was when a little girl was in a boat and the dolphin pulled the boat round the pool with some string, giving the girl a ride. We then went straight to the Orca show which I really enjoyed too.. the entertainment beforehand was really good as well.



After this was lunch time. Our package consisted of a 3 course meal. Luckily none of the courses were that big, so I managed to eat it all! We then had to go and find our tour guide for the next hour. She was really informative and I learnt loads that afternoon. We got to go behind the scenes into rooms which 'normal' tourists haven't got access to. We even got to go see the Orca's from underwater - they got so close to the window that you could see every detail on their skin. I'm no animal lover but I was pretty impressed! Down here was were the trainers hung out between shifts too. We got to see what they fed the monkeys each day, and also their bedrooms.. they're all so well looked after!



I know animal based parks create a lot of controversy but the tour guide stated how a lot of the animals that come here, because of their natural habitats and the way the climate is, as well as lack of food etc, wouldn't have survived long. However coming to Loro Parque has prolonged their lives by many years... They often do release many back into the wild too, but was adament that they get better treat there than probably most of us do!

After the tour we saw our last show of the day, the sealions. These didn't appease me as much as the other 2 but I still enjoyed it.



All in all, a very good day. It's classed as the No 1 attraction on Tripadvisor in Puerto De La Cruz, and I can see why.

This post is not paid or sponsored. All opinions are my own, as always. 

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Monday, 6 October 2014

On My Travels: Tenerife

I've very recently returned from a week away in Tenerife and luckily the holiday blues are still yet to set in.. maybe when I return to work!

If I'm honest, Tenerife wasn't my first choice when booking this holiday. It was a last minute deal with Thomas Cook (a real last minute, I'm talking 3 days prior!). The holiday was mainly to chill out and relax and take things easy, and this we definitely did! I loved knowing we never had to get up early for something (as like my last 2 main holidays in Florida & Vegas!). Everything was really laid back but I really enjoyed the change of scenery.

We stayed at the 'Best Semiramis' Spa Hotel in Puerto De La Cruz. This is meant to be a 5* hotel (although I'd rate it a little lower). Either way, we were told that this was once the best hotel in the area up until a couple of years ago when another one was built. Ours then took second place.. it was nice knowing we were staying in a bit of luxury though!


Clockwise from top left - View from balcony. Cute little house (can I live here please?). Sunset. Waffle and icecream!
Staying on a B&B basis, most days were spent strolling down for breakfast at 9.30ish, and having a huge array of breakfast foods to choose from. To save money, we made sure we stocked our bellies up on food with the hope that it'd see us through till tea time! Most days it did, with maybe a naughty mid-afternoon snack from the shop in between! After this we'd spend an hour or 2 on the internet in the lobby overlooking the sea (there was no wi-fi in the rooms, how annoying!). I know using the internet on holiday is controversial, but it gave me the time to do things I like, usually time that I haven't got back home. Then we'd walk up the road, taking a slow stroll round the shops, maybe stopping off for a drink in a quiet café. We'd then come back to the hotel room and play games on the balcony (the view was to die for!). At tea time we'd take a stroll into the centre where we'd find more restaurants, stopping off for tea at one of them. After tea we'd take a stroll round all the shops (there's something about shopping in the evening that I really love!). Occasionally we'd find a bench overlooking the beach and just people watch as the sun set. One of the days we went to Loro Parque which is a huge animal park with dolphin/sea lion shows etc. Its rated as the No1 attraction in Tenerife so we were lucky to be so close to it. It didn't disappoint but I'll keep that for another post.
Clockwise from Top Left - Loro Parque Orca Show, Sunset, Street Side Italian Restaurant, Beach.
All in all, although we never did much, I kinda liked the laidback feel of not feeling rushed and committed to doing anything. I've returned feeling really refreshed from it, and for once in a long time, I've returned from a holiday not feeling shattered and in need of constant sleep (it did help that there was no time difference too!).

Have you been on any relaxing breaks recently?

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Saturday, 4 October 2014

Review: September's Degustabox

I received my degustabox last week but only returned from my holiday last night so have only just had chance to open it! (needless to say it was a lovely package to look forward to on my return!).

For those that are new to Degustabox, it is a monthly food subscription box delivered to your door every month. There are 2 boxes to choose from, an alcohol and non-alcohol version. Doing a review I got the opportunity to sample all items from both boxes.



Lets take a closer look...



Snacks




Pick Up! - (5 pack - £1.69)
I can honestly say I've never seen these in the shops before but I've just sampled the milk chocolate one and they are yummy! Perfect to stick in your handbag for on the go, or in your lunch box!

Elizabeth Shaw Mint Thins (£2.50)

I remember receiving something similar in my first ever Degustabox - these are very alike but mint infused.. I have yet to try these but can imagine them being like Mint Matchsticks - Either way, its chocolate so no doubt I'll love it! Elizabeth Shaw products always seem to be a winner.

Burts Lentil Waves (69p per pack)

When I first saw these and read 'lentil' I thought they were actual lentils! I was obviously so wrong! These are healthy alternatives to crisps, with only 99kcals per pack (perfect for that upcoming diet of mine!). With the 3 flavours provided (Thai Sweet Chilli, Sour Cream & Chive, and Lightly Salted) I can't wait to try these out!

Drinks






Once again Degustabox have offered us to try another cold tea variant. This time a brand called 'Little Miracles' (£1.59 per bottle). I've already tried the Lemongrass Tea and it was a really light refreshing taste, if a bit misleading! The smell of ginger is quite overpowering, but upon drinking it the taste just lingers in the background and is no way as powerful as the scent makes you believe! I'm not a huge fan of flavoured teas, however I am always open to new things so the remaining flavor (Green Tea) I will take to work with me on Monday and sip at my desk. Its nice knowing your drinking a bottle of goodness instead of some carbonated sugar filled gassy drink.

Crabbies Lemonade (£1.20 per bottle) - I really like the vintage look to this bottle... I may be sad and keep it! I have yet to try this but not many people can go wrong with Lemonade, and I'm expecting good things from Crabbies!

Crabbies Alcoholic Fruits (Zesty Lemon - 4%. £1.50 per bottle)
I'm not a huge alcohol drinker at all but I do love lemon flavoured things, of all varieties, so I may just have to give this a bash! The good thing is with its low alcohol percentage, this could even be enjoyed on a work night (should I push the boat out!).

Breakfast




I was mightily impressed when I saw Jordan's Granola in the box (RRP - £2.69). I often buy Jordan's cereals, and I love granola too, so this was a win-win for me. This granola has a hint of honey which sounds intriguing! I usually add yogurt and fruit to mine to add more flavor. I for sure know what I'm having for breakfast this coming week!

La Vieja Fabrica Marmalade (£1.59). There's not many things I dislike food wise, but marmalade is one of them. We received a hamper last Christmas with some marmalade in, and I'm afraid to say it's still sat in the cupboard unopened, so before I build on my collection, I'm going to pass this on to my mum as I know she occasionally enjoys it on toast.

Cooking Ingredients




Nestle - Carnation Cook with it! These fit perfectly into my cooking skills - I often make dishes that require cream (i.e. curries and carbonara's). I'm really naughty and usually buy full fat cream so the fact that these are 1/2 the amount of fat is a complete bonus for me as I usually feel really guilty after eating those meals! I'm actually cooking a carbonara tonight so I will definitely be using one of these!

Righteous - These are taster pots of full size versions of salad dressings (225ml - £2.49 per bottle). The flavours sound yummy. We have a lot of salads so I'll definitely get some use from these!

As always, Degustabox always take care when packing their items, glass items are always individually wrapped with extra bubble wrap to protect against any breakages. I was really impressed with this months box, and apart from the marmalade I think I will get regular use out of all of these food items. For £12.99 (inc delivery) why not treat yourself... although a little warning, they become addictive!


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