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Five Friday Favourites #19

Dobble

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My friend Lucie came to stay last weekend and brought this highly addictive card game with her. It’s a really simple concept but is really fun to play and you can’t help but get really competitive…a definite for family gatherings!

Coffee and Tonic

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Yep, you read that correctly. Apparently the new hipster drink is a shot of espresso over ice topped up with tonic water. I was fully expecting to hate this but there is something really tasty and refreshing about the combination of the two drinks.

Rose Serum

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I received this Aromatica serum in a Birchbox and have been using it for about a week. It’s really lovely and hydrating and sinks in quickly. I wish it had a pump as it’s a bit of a pain tipping the gel-like liquid onto my hands but that’s the only criticism I have.

Red Shoes

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I love a red accessory and I have been slowly breaking in these red leather sandals my mum brought me back from Spain. They are smart enough for work and really comfortable but…they have dyed my feet red the first few times of wearing them!

Toronto

Finally, Ian and I have booked another holiday! We are off to Toronto and Niagara Falls for a week in October. I found a really good deal with BA and am really looking forward to my first visit to Canada,

Five Friday Favourites #18

From the highs of a three-day weekend to the lows of a 48-hour migraine, this week has had its ups and downs…

Line of Duty

Gosh – this was good wasn’t it?! Ian and I were completely gripped by this latest series and I felt it finished by wrapping lots of loose ends up but also leaving things open for the story to continue.

Cacti Bunting

I’m a big fan of the cactus trend and this bunting from Primark goes perfectly in our kitchen.

Clinique Essence

I’ve got a new step in my morning and evening routine in the form of this essence by Clinique. Hailing from South Korea (as does most new beauty and make-up at the moment!) the idea is that an essence better prepares your skin for oils and serums, allowing them to perform better. I’ve only been using this for a week or so but already I think it is having a positive effect.

Vaseline

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Strictly speaking, this is one of Ian’s favourites but I thought it was too cool not to include. Ian is somewhat of a Vaseline fan and my friend Lucie always manages to get him the latest limited edition tins and she very kindly sent him this personalised tin too.

Gingham Dress

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I’m having a bit of a gingham moment (I bought two new black and white checked tops this weekend!) and have been wearing this Primark dress non-stop.

Beauty Review – March and April Birchboxes

I’m not sure how I managed to miss a month’s review but I thought I would do a condensed double-whammy of beauty products that I received over the past two months plus an extra purchase I made.

March’s Box

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This box was rather plain and uninspiring when I opened it but there were some gems hidden inside.

First up is the Batiste 2-in-1 Dry Shampoo and Conditioner. This seems like a great idea but I just don’t use dry shampoos. I will however pass this onto my husband who does.

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I was surprised to see an inclusion from Bobbi Brown. Although the product sizes are quite tiny, it is still quite a high-end brand and I am really looking forward to trying out these three mini face masks.

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Next, a Balance Me Instant Lift Primer which I was pleased with as I love the brand and am always keen on testing out new primers. This smells nice and isn’t too silicone-y upon first use.

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Given that summer is fast-approaching, it was good to include a tanning lotion. This one from Vita Liberata is their Ten Minute Tan and I will use this as soon as it gets warm enough to contemplate getting my bare legs out!

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Finally, from Benefit I received a Double The Lip in the shade Pink Thrills. This is a lipstick and lipliner in one and although I can see the idea behind it, I just don’t think it quite works. Firstly, the two colours don’t really complement each other – I just wouldn’t use a dark purple lip liner with a bright pink lipstick! Secondly, it doesn’t really blend out very well and is quite a dry formula. With enough priming and blending I can just about make this work for me but for a product that was created to speed up application, it seems to have done the opposite!

April’s Box

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This was a much prettier offering in collaboration with Boden who included a £10 voucher.

The first item I received was a Baïja Paris body lotion in Fleur De Tiaré. I know some people moan that these products are ‘filler’ but I take these mini moisturisers with me whenever I go away and this one will be coming with me to Croatia in June.

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I also received Polaar’s face scrub with Arctic Cotton – an ingredient I don’t think I have used before. It’s meant to be moisturising but I’m usually quite wary of scrubs being too harsh on my skin.

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Next, a bronzer and highlighter duo from Manna Kadar Cosmetics. I haven’t heard of this brand before and on first impressions, the packaging feels very cheap and flimsy. However, the formula of the products aren’t bad. The bronzer is too dark for my skin tone so I will probably try using this as an eyeshadow but the highlighter is a nice peachy colour and looks quite natural.

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I think ModelCo are quite an underrated brand and I have really liked everything I’ve tried from them and use their brow gel and bronzer on a daily basis. This black eyeliner is another great product. My only niggle would be that it feels like I’ve received quite a few black eyeliners from Birchbox now so a different colour would have been nice.

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Finally, a Keratin conditioner from Luseta Beauty. This looks right up my street and will be going straight in my travel make-up bag to use on holiday.

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If you are a Birchbox customer, you will know they are making a few changes to their membership (free delivery, money off your orders, more opportunities to personalise your monthly box) and I realised some of my Birchbox points were about to expire so I put in an emergency order so I didn’t lose them!

An old faithful, Seche Vite, which I use on a weekly basis to give that gel finish to a manicure.

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My absolute favourite foaming shower gel from Rituals. This is quite expensive compared to what I would normally pay for a shower gel but it really is amazing stuff.

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I also bought a mini nail varnish remover pot from Ciate which is chocolate orange scented. These are so handy for removing nail varnish and I was in need of a new one too.

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Phew – that was a mammoth post but it has left me feeling really excited about testing out all these new products!

Five Friday Favourites #17

Blood Brothers

It feels like ages ago that I booked these tickets for my parents’ Christmas present but the weekend finally rolled around to go and see this show in Bristol. It is my favourite musical and we all really enjoyed it. We had a fab day in the sunshine walking along the Harbourside, enjoying cocktails and eating pizza.

The Longs Arms

Another mention for mine and Ian’s favourite pub! We went up here for dinner last night as, and usual, it was stunning. We shared starters of lobster and a goats meat scotch egg then I had lemon sole while Ian had the lamb. I always look forward to pudding and seeing what crazy flavour of ice-cream is on the menu and this time we sampled root beer, cream soda, Nutella, peanut butter and jam and – my new favourite – Jaffa Cake.

New Earrings

I rediscovered these earrings that my best friend Lu bought me for my birthday. They are lovely silver swallows and I have been wearing them all week.

Becca Highlighter

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This week, I have been really enjoying wearing the Shimmering Skin Perfector by Becca in the shade Moonstone as recommended by The Anna Edit. I like how natural this looks and I really do think it suits paler complexions.

Sliders

I have been after a pair of pool sliders since last summer. I saw these in Primark and I thought they looked really fun and they are actually really comfortable. It’s one of the first times that I have stopped to wonder whether I am too ‘old’ for an item of clothing but then realised I didn’t really care and headed to the tills!

Five Friday Favourites #16

Broadchurch

WOW! After not massively enjoying series 2, I was optimistic about this third series. Ian and I didn’t watch each week but instead save them up and had a big binge over the Easter weekend and it was great. I also really want to visit West Bay where it was filmed.

Bingo

Our local pub currently has a temporary manager who is really trying to engage the villagers. There was a bingo night this week which isn’t my usual thing but we wanted to support the pub. We ended up really enjoying it and I even won one round!

Candle

I love Lily Flame candles and I started burning this Rose Petals one this week. I think the little tins look great and the scent really does fill the room.

Spring Walks

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I met up with some friends this week for a long walk and lunch in the sunshine. We saw ducklings and baby moorhens as we wandered along in the sunshine and I had a fab veggie breakfast when we reached the café for lunch!

Face Masks

I have been using two different masks this week and like them both for different reasons. Firstly, is the Balance Me Radiance Face Mask which is exfoliating yet hydrating.

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I also repurchased the Sephora Lotus Sleeping Mask. This gel mask is soothing and moisturising and I love the fact that it is working its magic overnight while I sleep.

Latest Purchases #112 – A Little Holiday Haul

So, I didn’t buy too much when we were on holiday in Tenerife last week. We didn’t go to a market or spend that much time shopping but there were a few cool stores near to our hotel that I couldn’t resist a little browse in as well as picking up a few staples from the supermercado.

We discovered honey rum on holiday and enjoyed it both as a mixer with coke and on its own with ice. It’s a lovely sweet liquor and a good addition to our drinks trolley.

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I discovered Canarian mojo sauce when we were away. There is a red and green variety but my favourite was the green and I had it slathered over meat, fish and salads every day. I wanted to bring home a jar and although I know the fresh version will always be better, this jar looked fairly authentic. I have since managed to get my hands on a proper recipe from my friend who lives in Gran Canaria so will hopefully be making my own soon.

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I totally didn’t need this many pins but they were just so cute, I couldn’t resist! I think I will pop these on my leather and denim jackets. Also, just note the little chain on the cactus which has a mini watering can on it!

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As always, when in Europe I buy Milka and sweets.

These adorable castanets aren’t for me but I feel I should apologise in advance to my friend whose children I bought these for!

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Finally, due to being very pale and wanting to avoid getting burned at all costs, I love a good beach cover-up. I found these kaftans and after buying one and wearing it for most of the holiday, I went back and got a few more designs.

Beauty Review – Burt’s Bees Box

It’s a beautiful sunny day today and I have already been to the gym, done two loads of washing and am in a very productive mood. This doesn’t strike me too often so I am making the most of it and blitzing the house!

Today’s post is all about this fab little box Ian bought me. I have a huge drawer full of skincare and beauty products so it has taken me a little while to get around to unpacking and testing these out. I always think of Burt’s Bees as being a very ‘natural’ brand and have previously used (and loved!) their cuticle cream and lip balms. This box had a little bit of everything in it…

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This Coconut Foot Cream is a little love/hate. The texture is very greasy, more like an ointment than a cream, akin to the Elizabeth Arden 8-Hour Cream. Although I’m not too sure about the texture, I cannot deny that it smells amazing and it really does work! I tend to apply liberally then pop on a pair of socks until it has all been absorbed and it has left my feet feeling so smooth that I think I can get used to the formulation.

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I also got a Peach and Willow Bark Deep Pore Scrub. I’ve started to move away from really harsh scrubs on my face so I think I will use this as a body scrub instead. It doesn’t contain any plastic microbeads and again smells wonderful.

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I have almost used up this Intense Hydration Day Lotion. It smells glorious but, for me, is too thick and heavy to use as a day cream. I have been applying a generous layer of this at night and have been really impressed with it. It has a nice pump applicator but doesn’t absorb too quickly which is why I think it is better suited as a night cream.

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I am usually loyal to body butters from The Body Shop but this Honey and Shea one smells delicious and feels really thick and moisturising.

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Onto the lip products now which came in a very pretty tin…

This lip crayon in the shade Hawaiian Smoulder is really nicely pigmented and also feels very moisturising on the lips. This is a perfect everyday shade for me.

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I also got a Lip Shimmer in the shade/ flavour Guava. Although it smells lovely, this pale pink frosted effect just isn’t for me so I think I will pass this on.

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I already love the Burt’s Bees lip balms and this Wild Cherry one smells delicious.

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I also got a tinted lip balm which gives a really natural sweep of colour. I got the shade Hibiscus but to be honest, it leaves exactly the same colour as a different shade I have.

Finally, I received a tube of Lip Shine in the shade Spontaneity. I didn’t think I would like this and sadly I was right. Again, it smells lovely but I just really dislike the sticky, shiny lip gloss look so I will be passing this on to someone else.

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I think this is a great selections of products from the brand with some things I already loved plus the chance to discover a few new things. Are there any other Burt’s Bees items you would recommend? x

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Ten Friday Favourites #14 and #15

I’m back, both from holiday and from my accidental blog break! And without sounding too smug, I feel great. We had five blissful days where all we did was read, lie in the sun, walk along the beach, eat amazing food and indulge in a fair few cocktails. I feel so refreshed and really inspired to blog and get a few things around the house and garden finished this week. Seeing as I missed last week’s favourites, I thought I would kick things off this week with a bumper edition from the past fortnight.

Sun

In top position has to be our break in Tenerife. It was so lovely to feel the sun on my face again, speak some Spanish, eat churros and paella every day and enjoy doing absolutely nothing without any guilt.

Braces

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After almost a year, the braces I have had to straighten up my bottom teeth are off! I am so pleased I went ahead with this, despite the aching jaw and sore mouth, and plan on writing a blog post soon with a few before and after pictures.

Eyelash tint and lift

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I have written before about how much I love these beauty treatments and it was lovely to not have to bother with mascara or curling my eyelashes all week. In fact, I spent most of the time make-up free which was lovely and I think my skin is better for it.

Ballet

The day before our holiday, I went to watch Matthew Bourne’s production of The Red Shoes in Bristol with friends from work. It was a great way to spend an afternoon and my second time watching this art form.

The Radium Girls

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I read this book on holiday and it was incredible. Moving, brilliantly-written and shocking in equal parts, I will be recommending this to everyone. I even got a reply to my tweet from the author which makes me love it even more.

Travel Pillow

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I bought this for our trip to Japan later this year but decided to test it out this holiday. I’d never really rated travel pillows before but this was lovely. For once, I actually napped on the flight without my neck swinging about and I even used it through the day on the sunbed and it was a gamechanger – I actually had 3 naps one day!

Striped Top

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I have been loving this top I picked up in Primark a few weeks ago. I feel it ticks off a couple of trends (flared sleeves, stripes, embroidery) but it also just feels great to wear.

Chai Shower Gel

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This Body Shop shower gel smells of my all-time favourite drink – enough said.

Fish Pedicure

I know these were a craze a few years ago but I never had one and when I saw this little spa, I decided to have a go. I actually quite liked the nibbling sensation and I have to admit my feet were lovely and smooth afterwards. Ian however, having very ticklish feet, found it torturous!

Coconut Chips

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I always grab a packet of these at the till in Primark and I love them. They are delicious to snack on their own but are also a great addition to overnight oats or porridge for a bit of a crunch. I think they also have chocolate covered ones which I need to try.

Five Friday Favourites #13

New Brogues

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I treated myself to a new pair of brogues for work. These are the ASOS Mai suede brogues are a little more pointed than my last pair. I love the preppy look they give and they are really comfortable too which is a must when you are on your feet all day.

Nut Butter

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The humble peanut now has some competition in the nut butter stakes – I love almond and cashew butter on my morning oats and this one from Pip and Nut is delicious!

A Cream Blusher

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Not something I usually use but this cream blusher from Rimmel in the shade Radiant Rose gives a lovely, natural wash of rosy colour and blends in really well. Sometimes a powder blusher can feel like it is just sitting on top of your make-up whereas this product really feels like part of your base.

Vans Sunglasses

Now I am usually loyal to my Ray Ban collection (Clubmasters and Wayfarers being my favourite styles) but this pink pair from Vans have been my first choice recently. A gift from my bestie Lu, these are a really fun pop of colour and have a cool, retro shape too.

Midweek Wagamamas

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In the run-up to our all-inclusive holiday in a few weeks, we tried to be really good this week making healthy meals, going to the gym and limiting our treats at night. I don’t really ‘diet’ but I know we will be eating and drinking a lot when we’re away so I wanted to offset that a little bit! However, on Thursday night I was devoid of inspiration for something healthy and tasty so we popped to Wagamamas for some delicious new beef buns and a steaming bowl of noodles.

Latest Purchases #111 – A Primark Haul

What a beaut of a weekend! The sun was out and the clocks changed which means lighter mornings and evenings which are guaranteed to improve my mood.

Last weekend, I popped into Primark to hunt out the silver Gucci-inspired loafers I have seen everywhere and of course, picked up a few more items…

Here are the silver shoes I wanted. I am still wearing them in but think they will be perfect for Spring.

I love Primark’s loungewear and pyjamas. I find they are made of super-soft cotton which hang beautifully and are really loose and comfortable. I picked up a couple of cosy tops to wear in the evenings or as pyjamas.

On the pyjama theme, I bought this silky black pair of pjs which feel quite luxurious on.

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This top was probably my favourite purchase of the lot and one that I think encapsulates a lot of this season’s trends in the embroidery and the flared sleeves. I ended up getting this a couple of sizes bigger as I wanted quite a loose, almost floaty fit.

I really liked the colours in this knitted jumper and I think it looks more expensive than it was. Again, I sized up as a I wanted a baggy, over-sized fit and this looks great with jeans.

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I am after some green leaf prints for our bedroom and this cacti one is a good start. I may collate a gallery wall of sorts and I like the colours and gold detail on this print.

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I am slowly replacing all of my old mismatched hangers with these slim, copper ones so I picked up another 4 packs of these. It’s amazing how much more I can fit in my wardbrobe and they look really nice too.

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Whilst in the home section, I picked up a candle and reed diffuser. They definitely don’t have the strongest scent but do offer a subtle fragrance to a room.

Finally, a little at-the-till purchase of these coconut chips. I am trying to snack healthier at the moment and not reach for the biscuits and these coconut chips are really tasty.

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