Friday 28 February 2014

February Wins!

Its the end of another month! Which means its time for me to round up my monthly wins, which are extremely small, but one of those is a fairly big prize, so all is not lost!

At the beginning of the month I was lucky enough to win a nights stay for 2 people at a hotel on the outskirts of Manchester...

This it the hotel which looks pretty impressive. I always stay in chain hotels, or hotels that have hundreds of rooms, so this is something a little different but I can't wait. The prize includes champagne on arrival, afternoon tea, champagne in our room, a 3 course meal later that night (again, with wine on ice) and breakfast the next morning.. I think I'm gonna walk away from there feeling pretty stuffed! But stuffed in a good way, cos it's all free ;-) (Approx value - £200).

The other prize I won was a Pixi Lipbalm (worth £12). I've heard of this brand before, and I know its only been around for a couple of years but I've always wanted to try some of their products, so this was much appreciated.

 I've had to use a stock photo because my phone is playing up...sorry!
So these are my February wins... I'm hoping for some good ones in March now!

Sunday 23 February 2014

Home Decor: Project Hallway #1

If you've been a follower of my blog for some time now, you may remember this post that I did on my 'dream hallway'. Here you can see all the pretty items that I would accessorize it with once completed.
Fast forward 4 months and the project is finally starting to happen! The Parisian mirrored night stand from Dunelm Mill that I've been lusting after since we first moved in 2.5yrs ago.. I finally have! It arrived last week - It's not quite the same as the one in my collage, but very similar - I went for this one instead..

Stock Photo - Dunelm Mill - £129.99


I wouldn't normally spend such an amount on a table that will just sit in the hallway but I've never wanted something for such a long time - Usually I decide I 'love' something only to go back to it a few months later and decide I don't like it - but my love for this hasn't stopped, so I know its worth its price tag! This will house a few glass jars that I have purchased from Dunelm Mill. I've actually bought a large glass trinket box with a lid that I've decided is going to be used for throwing our keys in as we come through the door, because usually we just throw them on the side in the kitchen. This would also be the perfect place to house a bunch of colour fresh flowers, to really add a pop of colour to the hallway. I had in my head a cute little lamp sitting on here to light up the hallway, but eventually realized that the nearest plug is across the hallway, so regarding wires, this isn't happening! I'm trying to think of an alternative for lighting though, I'm looking at fairy lights as another option, but trying to think of a way to display them.

There's been a bit of a change around regarding the walls. I originally wanted silver/grey wallpaper, and found some gorgeous ones in Laura Ashley. However after being reminded how hard it is to decorate the stairs/landing area, and that we'd probably need a painter/decorator in to help us, I decided against this idea to save money, I begrudge paying out when I know I could do it myself, even though it would be hard work. I was then going to go with the plan of wallpapering the wall that you face as you're coming up the stairs, as a 'feature' wall, but then decided that might look a bit odd. So we've decided to just paint over the wallpaper that is already on the walls (which is currently cream) and turn everything white. I still wanted a grey/silver theme going on so I may paint the staircase a silver tone, as well as the doorframes.

I've also been looking at Roman Blinds.. I've never had to shop for blinds before, so didn't really how expensive they were! However these will give me the perfect opportunity to bring together the colour scheme a little more..

I predict its going to be a few weeks before Project Hallway is completed yet we're having to paint around working full time (and I get bored of painting very quickly!). That together with the dingy lighting often means I either have to wait till the weekends, or have a lot of touch ups to do! I refuse to book any time off work to spend decorating!

Here is what my hall way looks like currently. Again, ignore the dingy lighting. It was night-time and we have those horrible energy saving bulbs that I really need to change!

Once all the painting is complete, I intend on taking up the laminate flooring and laying a cream carpet down. You might also be able to see on this first photo that I've already begun painting..

This is where I intend on putting the mirrored table - In the corner where the ugly electric box is, to hopefully hide it!

Upstairs landing - As you can see, the current Roman blinds have random 'lighter' stripes across them where they have faded in the sun.

I can't wait till its all finished!


Thursday 20 February 2014

February's BirchBox!

So this is the first month that I've gone down to 1 beauty box a month after cancelling my GlossyBox last month, so I was hoping for a good box to help with my withdrawal, and it didn't disappoint.

Birchbox always seem to hit it right when it comes to variety. There's the perfect mixture of all products rolled into this box, so lets see in a little more detail what I received.

Gilchrist & Soames Shower Gel. When I first saw this I had a feeling it was going to smell a little herbal-y (if that's even a word?!), and I wasn't wrong. If you know me, you know I do prefer a sweet smelling shower gel as opposed to something more spicy, however unfortunately my friend who I normally swap items with at work (she's partial to a spicy smelling shower gel!) has gone on maternity leave *sob* so it's not as easy to swap items anymore. I will perceiver though. Full size this is £13.75.

Beauty Protector Oil. This claims to battle UV rays, heat and breakage. Its no secret that I'm not a hair person, however I have been forcing myself to use more products on my hair, and I've really got into hair serums and oils of late, so although this didn't excite me too much, its nice to add to the collection. Full size - £16.

Eyeko Skinny Liquid Eyeliner. I'm assuming this is a full size product that I received (worth £12), however me and liquid eyeliners just don't get on. I can't for the life of me apply them. I've tried many a times and failed each time. I envy those girls who have perfectly lined upper lids that look so effortlessly applied. The funny thing is, I don't even have a shaky hand, I just can't apply them, full stop.

Leighton Denny Nail Polish 'Coconutty' (this was a full size item worth £11). I love a good nail polish, and was glad that I received this colour because I was only thinking last week that I no longer have a pale brown polish due to my previous one going gloopy. Its actually a surprise that I only owned 1 pale brown polish, because I have duplicates of every other colour going! This one is perfect, with a subtle yet pretty gold shimmer running through it. Can't wait to try this.

Urban Veda Exfoliating Facial Polish (full size £8.99). The word 'polish' excites me, don't ask me why. I think its because it puts visions in my head of walking away with gleaming freshly primed skin. I have yet to try this out but looking forward to giving it a go.

Last but not least - this months lifestyle choice - a Green & Blacks dark chocolate bar. This is only a mini one, so is perfect for work.. it is dark chocolate, and is 70% cocoa so is very rich in taste (I've had one before). So I think its either something I'll save for when I'm in serious need of a chocolate fix and we have none in the house (!) or like I said, to take to work with me. This isn't something I would normally pick up from the shop, but dark chocolate is always a good one to have if trying to cut down on chocolate, because you never want as much!

Overall, pretty happy with this months box! A few products that I would give or take but for the most part, some ones that I'm looking forward to trying!


Sunday 16 February 2014

Valentines Nail Art!

I've got lots of little gems, sequins and glitter in order to do a tonne of nail art, but I just get too lazy and never bother, so this Valentines I thought what better time to put my little heart gems to good use..

I received this little pot as part of a Christmas present (from Avon). Some may say the colour contrast is a little garish but I wanted to be sure the gems stood out!

For the polish I used Essie's 'Bikini So Teeny'. Also please excuse the none filed nails!

This is a really easy and quick yet effective way to jazz your nails up for any last minute special occasions! I will say I was glad I was only out for a couple of hours for a meal on Friday night as these gems unfortunately didn't last that long on the nails! However I used just the wetness of the polish in order to attach them as opposed to nail glue, so feel free to use this instead for a more stronger adhesive!

I hope you all had a nice Valentines, and if you are still yet to celebrate then enjoy!


Saturday 8 February 2014

Primark Spring Purchases!

I only ever tend to have a splurge in Primark if I'm either away for the weekend or on a shopping trip out of town. Our local Primark is pretty small, therefore it never has any decent stock in, and all the best bits get taken over.

It has also become tradition for my boyfriend to buy me a Primark voucher to go towards my birthday/Christmas presents, which he usually fills with £75 so I can have a bit of a spree.

On Tuesday I took a day off work to go with my mum to Lincoln so of course I checked out their Primark, and managed to come away with a few bits.

This cotton dress I picked up in the sale for a mere £5. I thought it'd be suitable for work paired with some black tights and a slouchy cardy thrown over the top. However, Primark being Primark and their ill-fitting clothes, this is fair too tight round my arms (to the point of me having to shout my boyfriend to come help get me out of it!) so this is going back.

This is a similar (possibly same?) dress to the one above (although the material feels a little softer/silkier, so I'm not sure!). I absolutely love this and how it looks on me. You know when you get a clothing item that either the colour or pattern seems to make your face 'pop' - well this dress does just that. Love it! - £8

I love my slouchy cardys - I find them so versatile so I had to pick up this spearmint one when I saw it. They had a variety of colours but I love pastel colours in the spring/summer, it reminds me of gorgeous spring mornings when the winter coats are being thrown to the side and we're all getting brave enough to venture out in just a jumper... ahhh. - £12

I've been eyeing up these PJs for a while now. They're a really nice light cotton flimsy material so are really comfy to wear (I'm a little fussy on my PJ material!). These are cuffed at the leg too, which means no trailing for us shorties! - £6

These were more of an impulse buy. I aim to have a few fairy lights dotted round my house cos I think they look so pretty. However when I got these home I realized they were white LED lights, which I didn't really want (I wanted the yellow ones!). So for now I've hung them round my dressing table...

I haven't had much luck with handbags as of late. I bought one from Forever21 when I was in Vegas over a year ago - Shortly afterwards, the zip broke. I then purchased one from New Look - The zip broke within 2 days of me having it. I then got one from H&M whilst I was in London in December, and guess what? THE ZIP BROKE! People kept asking me if its because I was putting too much stuff in my bag, which wasn't the case. I was never 'fighting' to get the zip done up, they were just crap zips, obviously! I then bought another bag in the Next sale in January, which was a bit of an impulse buy because I was annoyed with my current handbag situation. I soon discovered that this said bag was so impractical - It was deep that I was having to literally dig and fumble around for everything, and because the lining was black, I couldn't see inside the bag properly (even in the brightest of places) so I was having to get my phone light out to use as a torch.. it was just.. not good! I spotted this bag in Primark which ticked all the boxes. It was big enough for work, it had a zip across the top as well as a long shoulder strap. It feels really sturdy and is so far doing the trick! I don't usually go for taupe coloured bags, but I thought decided I was getting a little tired of black. So for £12, I hope it lasts longer than the others!

Have you checked out Primark's Spring collection yet? I have Valentines day off work so I'm already planning which city to visit so I can check out another branch to spend the remaining of my voucher!


Thursday 6 February 2014

January Competition Wins

Some may (or may not) know that I enter competitions as a hobby in my spare time (and sometimes not in my 'spare' time but in my most busiest times when I'm meant to be doing other things, but Sshh!)

I have been comping on and off for a couple of years now but last year was the year I began to comp seriously (and it paid off with a few really good wins inc a 7 night all inclusive holiday to Turkey and a dance class in Pineapple Studios with Arlene Phillips judging us! This also included a hotel stay, a theatre ticket, tea at The Hilton and travel expenses!).

I've been in two minds whether to do this post (for several reasons), but I really enjoy reading others competition wins and seeing photos. It helps to inspire me at times where my comping 'mojo' is at a low, so I thought I'd begin to share my monthly wins with everyone too.

I usually tend to avoid competitions based on luck, but rather go for more skilled ones which require effort. These I tend to be more successful with and feel like I've earnt the prize if I happen to win. However the past few months I've really got into twitter, and have been entering competitions through simple retweets, and have been fairly successful. No huge wins in January, but wins nonetheless that keep me going:

Tanning lotion - £10
Memory foam pillow - £32. (I used to hate memory foam mattress' & pillows but this has bizarrely done my lower back wonders!
Cute i-phone case - £16.99
Caramelised Cashews. I don't think I was meant to receive this many bags initially, but the company were late sending my winnings out because my email had been misplaced to they kindly sent me some 'extra'. Either way, these bags are worth almost £2 in the shops, so that's £8 worth of nuts!
Like I said, nothing massive but it keeps me going, and such a buzz knowing you have received something for nothing.
Comping isn't easy - depending on the amount of comps you enter, its extremely time consuming. I'm lucky in the fact that I don't have children yet and only really have myself to worry about. Because of this, I can put extra time into effort-based comps so I stand a better chance of winning. Comping isn't for everyone and many believe that competitions are fake. I agree, some are, but the majority are real, and posts like these prove it. I wish I had blogged about them from the start to show you all! I still have photographic prove from a lot of them so maybe sometime soon if you're interested! Entering competitions gives you that chance of winning things that you may not have been able to afford otherwise, or even have access to (I've just read on someone's blog that they won a sleepover in Hamleys Toy Shop in London!) so there's many bizarre but wonderful prizes that you'd never be able to access otherwise (another example is my dancing getting judged by Arlene Phillips... I don't even think money could buy that!).
Do you enter competitions? What's your best win so far? I'd love to hear from you!

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