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Sunday Catch-up #43

Hello and Happy Sunday! I went back to work this week and the dark nights are closing in. I don’t mind too much though as I had a great time at a fireworks display, started Pilates again after a month off and later today Ian and I are off to watch Josh Widdicombe and grab a spot of dinner.

This week I have been…

Making: better use of my time

Going: to watch Josh Widdicombe live (tonight!)

Wearing: black tights…my winter essential

Eating: a delicious steak dinner (with a side order of mac ‘n’ cheese!)

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Drinking: dessert wine with my salted caramel pudding

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Reading: the final draft of my essay…it’s done!

Watching: American Horror Story – we finished Narcos (amazing series!!!) and so far we’re not that convinced by AHS

Buying: some treats from Birchbox

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Planning: some healthy meals for the week ahead

Cooking: a delicious chorizo, cherry tomato and spinach omelette for my breakfast yesterday

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Baking: nothing so far but I plan on trying out a toffee apple crumble recipe later this week

Writing: blog posts

Favouriting: this amazing video from Lisa Eldridge about make-up through the ages

Working on: clearing out our spare bedroom

Trying to decide: what colour to paint my nails today

Wishing: the rain would stop

Enjoying: firework displays

Needing: more candles!

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Feeling: well rested after two lazy lie-ins this weekend

Giggling at: how much this guy needs his coffee in the morning!

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Latest Purchases #79 – A Summery Primark Haul

Happy Bank Holiday Monday! We were back at the Apple shop this morning to fix my smashed iPhone screen which was slight deja-vu having tried to sort it yesterday, but we headed to Bills for brunch so it was well worth the trip!

I went on a little trip to Primark recently and picked up some bits and bobs for summer: footwear, pjs, homeware, jewellery…a little bit of everything.

First up the shoes. I have to admit that I went a little bit mad here (5 pairs!) but I am operating a strict one-in-one-out policy in my shoe collection and I know I will definitely get good wear out of all of them.

Although we don’t have too strict a dress code at work, I do like to wear shoes as opposed to flip flops or sandals so I picked up a couple of pairs of Primark’s slipper-style ballet pumps in black and leopard print.

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I also bought pair of cream crochet pumps which I think are just a little bit smarter than espadrilles.

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I love these black laser-cut sandals which are flat but I think look a bit dressier than usual.

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Finally, I had been after a pair of sliders after seeing them everywhere this season and found these snakeskin-effect ones. They are so comfortable and I think they look very on-trend and much more expensive than they were.

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A few homeware pieces next. I had been after some grey and pink accessories to finish off the look of our newly-decorated guest bedroom and found this grey-striped and pretty pink one. I had been looking at similar striped ones from John Lewis so these were a bargain in comparison.

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Sticking with the pink theme, I got this Red Berry and Jasmine candle. I’m not sure how good Primark candles are but I mainly bought this for the colour.

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I went a bit mad on candle holders too and bought a set of these purple geometric ones and some white ones. I remember reading on an interiors blog that these things always look better in threes so there was a reason for buying so many! My only niggle is that the price stickers on them are so sticky they leave a really horrible patch when you try to peel them off…I hate it when products do that!

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Onto the clothes now and these bleached jeans. I wanted a pair of pale jeans that weren’t white and these fit the bill perfectly. The acid-wash look is very cool and they are light and summery.

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My bargain of the day was this pineapple t-shirt which was reduced to £1! I bought it a couple of sizes bigger and plan to wear it as a pyjama top.

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Talking of pyjamas, I picked up these trousers in the ‘loungewear’ section. I love the print on them and I don’t think they look too pyjama-esque. I have an essay to write this week and I can see myself wearing these as I procrastinate write.

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Finally, a baggy waterfall cardigan in a cool Aztec print. I actually bought this in an XS size as I wanted it to be loose but not swamp me. This is the perfect jacket to throw on in this transitional period where it isn’t quite warm enough to leave the house without a jacket but you don’t want to be weighed down by a big winter coat.

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On to the accessories now and it wouldn’t be a blogger’s summer haul without a flower crown! I jest, but I did pick up this small crown with the intention of wearing it to a summer BBQ – I think these are so pretty.

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Some bracelets next – I like this mix of gold, silver and rose gold.

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This may be TMI but I had to show you these cute pants…they have sausage dogs on them!

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A boring buy next but necessary to keep your feet smelling fresh – some ‘footies’.

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And finally, a new handbag and another item that looks so much more expensive than it is. I love the shape of this bag and the detailing in the design. It isn’t huge but that means I won’t overpack it with stuff I don’t need and I like that I can wear this on the shoulder or across the body.

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Latest Purchases #77 – Lily Flame Candles

I used to be somewhat precious about candles, saving them until any scent had all but disappeared and allowing them to collect dust. Shameful I know! Now, I am much more eager to actually use them to give a lovely warm glow to a room and fill it with a gorgeous scent.

For Christmas, my friend Hannah bought me this little candle tin by Lily Flame in the scent Wild Jasmine. After lighting it, I was amazed by how quickly it filled the room with its scent and really impressed at its burn time for such a dinky little tin!

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As soon as I had finished burning it, I knew I wanted to try some other scents from this brand and I was so happy to see that Lily Flame is a local business, hand-making these candles in nearby Somerset. I would always much rather buy locally and I found the bigger size tin for just under £10 in a wide range of scents…the hardest part was narrowing down which ones to order!

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I opted for a candle for our kitchen and another for the living room. Since buying a Parsley and Mint candle from Space NK, I am a real convert to using herbal candles to help get rid of leftover cooking smells because who wants their kitchen smelling like a perfumery?! I bought the Mellow Figs and Garden Mint and am really pleased with it as it is hard to buy something scented online based on a small description box.

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A lovely pale green colour, this is a very clean and fresh scent and reminds me of Diptyque’s Figuier candle (but for a fraction of the price!). It is a rich, earthy scent but the mint stops this being too heavy.

I also picked up the Fresh Linen candle tin as I just love the smell of washing fresh off the line. A pretty pale blue colour, this scent really lives up to its name and is just so ‘clean’ smelling!

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These slightly larger tins claim to have 30-35 hours burn time which I think makes them a great value candle. I am already planning the next scents to try out! x

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Latest Purchases #70 – More Space.NK

As Britney once said ‘Oops, I did it again’…I was sucked in by the gorgeous website and before I knew it I was leaving delivery instructions with the postman and ripping open another box from Space.NK. I really didn’t need any new products but it’s funny how you can convince yourself you do once you start looking!

First up, some new candles. I’m currently making my way through the last of my Yankee Christmas candles but have got some nice ones lined up now.

This Space.NK Smoky Rose Candle is like a grown-up version of my usual rose scent. It is richer and slightly muskier and this came in a gorgeous, sleek glass. Space.NK’s candles have great reviews in terms of the scent and burning time so I look forward to putting this one to the test.

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Still on the subject of candles, a slightly unusual choice now:

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This slightly larger Parsley and Mint candle is not a traditional candle scent but it is so fresh and uplifting. I bought this to have on our kitchen table to burn when I have cooked something particularly whiffy like kippers! There is something not quite right about a really floral or musky candle scent in the kitchen so this herbal smell will be perfect.

A few items from the Life.NK range now which is kind of like Space.NK’s own brand of beauty products.

A simple daily moisturiser first in a handy travel size. This is a really simple and light face cream which just does what it says on the tin!

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A big bottle of shower gel next which has a lovely rose, vanilla and jasmine scent.

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Finally, a tube of lip care to help me on my never-ending battle against dry and chapped lips…I am so ready for this cold weather to go away now!

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A little bit of luxury next with this huge tub of Sai-Sei Mineral Seaweed Bath Crystals. These smell amazing and will give that luxury spa-like experience to any bathtub. I have been getting the worst aching legs after a run recently so I am hoping a soak in these revitalising bath crystals will help.

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Last up, some more Laura Mercier, which is quickly becoming one of my favourite beauty brands! These Eye Canvas bases are designed to prep your eyelids by creating a perfect base to allow your eye make-up to sit well and last that bit longer. I think the shades I bought are slightly too dark but as long as I am using a bronze/ brown eyeshadow then you really can’t tell. It is one of my biggest bugbears when my eyeshadow creases so I am hoping this is the magic formula to stopping that!

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As a little extra in the box, I also received a few nice samples from Life.NK, Rodial and Eve Lom; a nice touch!

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Right, I feel like I need a self-imposed hiatus from the Space.NK website for a little bit as I am meant to be saving for our trip to the States now…Hannah, step away from the laptop! x

A Vintage Candleholder

When we were In Stratford Upon Avon recently, I insisted on dragging Ian around a lovely little antique market we stumbled upon there.

Since we bought our home, I have become more interested in pottering around places like these. I’m not talking about proper, historical, cost-the-earth antiques but just pretty trinkets like odd pieces of china, floral teacups, teaspoons, vases and milk jugs. And although I love IKEA (hello meatballs!), I really do like the idea of having some more personal and unique things dotted around the house.

I picked up a few pieces from this market and at the time wasn’t really too sure what I was going to do with them. I just knew that I liked them and most of the things I pick up at places like this are real bargains too!

The first thing I bought was this pretty glass bowl for just £1 with a simple pattern etched onto the underside of it.

I thought it looked and felt too delicate for everyday use in the kitchen and my first thought was that it would be perfect on my dressing table to keep trinkets or earrings in.

I also picked up a little bag of vintage buttons for only 50p – I wish I had bought more now! The colour-coding appeals to my slightly neurotic side and I find buttons really pretty anyway, especially the pearlescent ones.

After giving it a good wash, I had the glass bowl on the side in our dining room but I felt it looked a bit plain and was missing something.

At this time of year, I crave candles and fairy lights twinkling in the corners of rooms and so decided to transform this piece of glassware from bowl to candleholder. To soften the look of the tealight in there, I poured in the bag of buttons.

And here it is sat on my shelf, a lovely looking and original piece, costing less than £2.

I didn’t add too many buttons so you can still see the delicate pattern on the bowl peeking through, and when the candle is burning, the light leaves a very pretty pattern on the shelf.

Finally, I just had to share my most random purchase of the day at this market…a little wooden toadstool for 10p – why not?!

Pomegranate Punch

We had a power cut yesterday evening. The whole village was plunged into darkness, which meant torches were grabbed, candles were lit and all the surrounding houses had a warm glow coming out from behind the curtains. It looked so cosy that I was almost disappointed when the power came back on!

Lots of neighbours were popping next door to check on people, which made me feel really happy to be living in a village that has that kind of community feeling where we all look out for each other.

It did of course mean we had to create our own fun, so out came the ukulele and I played the only two tunes I currently know, until I was finally asked to stop! Hehe

We now need to try and figure out how to reset all the timers on various kitchen equipment, and catch up on the new series of The Apprentice!

My Dad is still staying with us meaning we have had dish after dish of gorgeous home-cooked food;

Ribs (which were left to marinate and tenderise in a brine before being cooked until they were literally falling off the bone)

And Chicken Cacciatore, a lovely Italian dish

It is lovely to be able to come home after a long day at school and not have to worry about cooking, although his services don’t include the washing up!

Today’s quick recipe is for a summery punch, and it also meant I got to use my new stripy straws for the first time!

I can see myself making this cocktail time and time again over the summer. The pomegranate is sweet, yet crisp, and mint adds a refreshing element to the drink. I made this sans alcohol, but I plan to experiment with adding dashes of vodka and amaretto to it too.

Ingredients

Pomegranate juice

Fresh mint

Sparkling water or lemonade

A teaspoon of sugar (optional)

How to make it

  • Begin by picking sprigs of mint and tearing them to release their sweet flavour
  • Put the mint in the bottom of the glass or jug and fill it roughly two thirds full with pomegranate juice then top with the sparkling water
  • Add the sugar if needed and give it a stir
  • After a few minutes, the mint will start to infuse so enjoy over ice, with pretty straws and preferably in the sun!