Illustrated Teacup

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Wednesday, 30 September 2015

HOME: Keeping cosy this winter with bedspreads

Bedspreads


Winter is for cuddles and lazy weekends in bed right? This is especially true for the bloggers amongst you who will endeavour to blog from the confines of your toasty bed, with tea and soft socks.
Plus autumn and winter is all about layering. It's kind of integral to the season. So why not do the same for your bed this winter?

I've have discovered some great bedspreads at Yorkshire Linens Co.*. But I'm not going to lie, I didn't know they were different to duvets until I started researching them.

OK so the lowdown... Basically a bedspread is your top layer; it's the outer piece to your bed outfit, which brings the whole look together and adds a little decor to the otherwise practical look.
If you're like me, you've worked hard to style your bedroom to look just right, and a bedspread is like the cherry on top.

Not only does it add a layer of warmth for you, but it completes that 'I belong in a hotel room' feel. Plus they are super handy for the summer months too when it is just too hot for a full-on duvet, but you still want some coverage.

Bedspreads


Some of my favourites:

This stunning floral Canterbury Blue Bedspread from Yorkshire Linen Co. probably my absolute favourite, and has some real Cath Kidson vibes

This super affordable Fabrina bedspread from Ikea - pale pink to pull some extra prettiness into our room

This Rose Bedspread from the Yorkshire Linen Co. has so many countryside-feels it had to be included in my list

This Dreams n Drapes Patchwork Pink Bedspread from Cleverboxes via Tesco is too pretty to pass up.

Bedspreads
Bedspreads

Thank you to Yorkshire Linen Co.* for collaborating on this post and educating me on bedding matters.
Have you got a bedspread for your bed?

*Collaboration Post
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Tuesday, 29 September 2015

BEAUTY: My skincare routine ft Bee Good

Bee Good Skincare

I've never been very good with a skincare routine. Of course I wash my face, and remove my make up (at least most nights, woops) but recently after some mild guilt-tripping (you're a blogger Rach, you should really know better and promote a good routine) and a raffle win I've developed a new love for my daily skincare routine, featuring Bee Good. 

As you can see I won a very cute set at the recent Southampton Bloggers event (read here) and have been putting the products to the test. I also got the 2 in 1 cream cleanser* in the goody bag, so double bonus!

Bee Good Skincare
^^cutest little box ever right... and these printed chocolate buttons from New Forest Chocolates were the actual cutest, and so yummy! As were the adorable iced biscuits from the Little Bee Bakery... I really need more of them^^

So a little bit about Bee Good: They are a family run business based in the north of Hampshire who use British honey to create ethically sourced and cruelty free (obviously not vegan though) skincare products. They're a responsible little company who put their profits back into bee keeping, and the training of new bee keepers and collaborate with other local suppliers. Cute right? 

So the products. In my little pamper box  I received the Honey & Camelina Facial Exfoliator and the Honey & Wild Flax Daily Moisturiser. As you can see the tube are really simple and pretty. Perhaps slightly on the smaller side BUT don't let that worry you. These really do go a long way. I've been using the daily moisturiser every day, approximately a pea sized amount, for about a month, and it is still going strong. The facial exfoliator I use a couple of times a week and again it is showing no signs of running out. 
And as for how they work and smell? Well I love the smell, especially the moisturiser which is really fresh and light. The exfoliator has a mild smell, and isn't too rough, giving a gentle exfoliation which is of course ideal for your face. 

I've been combining this with the Honey & Propolis 2 in 1 Cream Cleanser* which comes with it's own muslin cloth, that actually matches the packaging! The muslin cloth also adds some gentle exfoliating which is an added bonus, especially as the weather starts turning. Again a tiny amount goes a really long way and it is lasting really well.    

Bee Good Skincare

Bee Good Skincare
















So will I be buying these products? More than likely. They aren't the cheapest on the planet, but being a local business makes them that little more special, and to be honest they have transformed my skincare routine from soap and face wipes to actually caring for my skin.

Have you tried Bee Good? What should I be trying next?

*post contains PR samples
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Monday, 28 September 2015

LIFESTYLE: An evening in London town


London is probably one of my favourite places to visit, and this month I'll have gone into London three times for various trips and events, which to be honest is great.
I love the hustle and bustle of the city, and at night time it is just so pretty with all the city lights. You can see the last time I was in London here.

This time around, I was in London for work during the day, but met up with one of my closest friends for the evening as part of her birthday celebrations. She's never really bothered with her birthday before, and last year I'd only known her a couple of weeks so we couldn't really plan anything. So we thought this year we'd do something a little special.

We kind of left the bulk of the planning to the last minute as we had some slight shift in plans, but eventually we got there.

We decided to spend our evening in Central London. First up was a visit to the ICEBAR London for a champagne session. Now this is not cheap ladies and gents. But then I wasn't expecting it to be as London is a pricey ol' city. But we did have a very enjoyable time, though we did not last the 40 minutes they allow. You'd have to be part Eskimo to stand it in there!

Then we dived over to Covent Garden for dinner, and to see the balloon installation. I've been wanting to see this since seeing the very first images on Instagram. I'll be honest, the photos just don't do it justice. It's kind of magical really, for something that is so sweet and simple. But be warned it isn't staying much longer, so get in quick.

We followed this up with dinner at Brasserie Blanc, a restaurant that I've seen many a time but never visited. We finished off the evening with cocktails on the roof terrace at Brasserie Blanc.

Here's some photos from our evening....





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Sunday, 27 September 2015

BLOGGING: Cake for the Soton bloggers

Soton Bloggers do cake event


Blogging has recently been such a joy. Yes I'm probably a little further behind on my scheduling then I would like, especially in terms of social media. And I've missed more Twitter chats then I can say, but I've had some amazing opportunities come my way recently.
One of the biggest things to happen to me since starting this blog thingy is meeting the Soton Bloggers. So basically, Soton Bloggers is run by Alice and Amy, who organise events and kind of keep us up-dated with any other external events that are going on in the area. You'll remember their last event in August which was fab, and we've also done events with Lush Southampton and The Body Shop too.

Well the girls, as lovely as they are, decided to host another special event, this time for charity. As MacMillan coffee mornings were making the rounds, it only made sense to support this charity. We were asked to bring in something baked or bought that could be contributed. I of course made my now quite famous chocolate biscuit cake (I had a busy couple of days ahead of the event - which you can read more about here, so I had to make in advance) to take along with me.

So last Sunday, we got together at Vodka Revolution in Bedford Place, Southampton for an afternoon of cake and gossip. I love hanging out with these girls. There's something to be said about being in a group who totally understand why you need to take 18 photos of that cake from four angles because the lighting changed - they just understand your troubles. And anyone with a camera is instantly everyone's best friend!

We had a lovely afternoon... here's some photos.

Soton Bloggers do cake event

Soton Bloggers do cake event

Soton Bloggers do cake event
^^how totally cute is this polaroid?? I really do need an Instax camera!^^ 

Soton Bloggers do cake event

Soton Bloggers do cake event




In total we raised a fabulous £70 for MacMillan, which is very humbling for our little group. It's so good to give a little back, and still have an amazing time.


^^the girls - courtesy of Jessica^^
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Wednesday, 23 September 2015

LIFESTYLE: Super easy 3 ingredient recipes for a quick treat

I love a little baking session. But as a bit of a novice, I also like simple and easy recipes to follow. So I've pulled together a few really simple, tried and tested treats for you to try at home too. You can also see my no-bake chocolate biscuit cake here if you fancy.


Three ingredient (gluten-free and dairy-free) peanut butter cookies
I made these back at the beginning of the summer for a BBQ with friends. One our friends can't eat dairy due to an intolerance of her daughter who she was still breastfeeding so I decided to bake these little treats so she could still have something sweet. I'm assured by her and Dann that they taste great - I hate peanuts so I can't say!

Three ingredient (gluten-free and dairy-free) peanut butter cookies

Ingredients:
260g of peanut butter - smooth or chunky, your choice
200g sugar - I used caster
1 egg - medium

(optional - 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, and 1 teaspoon of baking powder)

The recipe:
Preheat the oven to 200C, and line a tray with greaseproof paper
Add all the ingredients to a bowl and mix - handy tip: break the egg in a separate bowl increase the shell goes in
Roll into balls and gently flatten on the tray. Push a fork into the top to make a criss cross pattern
Bake in the oven for 10-15 mins - watch them carefully. They should be slightly golden on top.

Three ingredient (gluten-free and dairy-free) peanut butter cookies

Three ingredient (gluten-free and dairy-free) peanut butter cookies



Three ingredient naughty chocolate brownies
These are a real naughty treat for any chocolate lover, and a huge hit with Dann who will do anything for brownies.

Three ingredient naughty chocolate brownies

Ingredients:
275g chocolate spread or Nutella (again I can't eat hazelnuts, so we used chocolate spread instead)
2 eggs - medium
70g plain flour

(optional - add chocolate chips for extra indulgence - lightly cover in flour to stop them sinking in the mix)

The recipe:
Preheat oven to 180C and grease a square tin - I love the greasing! 
Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl
Spread into the tin
Bake for about 20-30 minutes, or until the centre is just set
Wait until cool and slice into cubes

Three ingredient naughty chocolate brownies

Three ingredient naughty chocolate brownies
^^we had some left over melted chocolate so I drizzled so on to make these extra naughty!^^

Three ingredient naughty chocolate brownies


3 ingredient frozen banana yoghurt bites (gluten-free)
I guess this one really does what it says on the tin. A slightly healthier treat, great for those with kiddies, especially if they want to help - not too messy! These are great as a snack on their own straight from the freezer, or as an extra for a healthy breakfast with cereal or granola.

3 ingredient frozen banana yoghurt bites (gluten-free)


Ingredients:
1 large ripe banana
150g of yoghurt - we used natural fat-free
Dried banana (optional)

(optional extras - to make it naughty add chocolate chips - white ones would probably work best)

The recipe:
Sort out 12 cupcake case (silicone ones work best) ready and place on a tray that will fit in your freezer. We stacked it inside our chest freezer.
Peel the banana and mash with a fork, or potato masher.
Mix with the yoghurt in a bowl.
Spread the mix between the cupcake cases.
Top with banana chips if you like
Place in the freezer for about two hours or until frozen all the way through.
Remove from cases if in silicone and serve - or bag up and store in the freezer for later use.

3 ingredient frozen banana yoghurt bites (gluten-free)



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Monday, 21 September 2015

FOOD: Arty nibbles and coffee galore at the Artisan, Southampton

The Artisan Cafe Reopening

The Artisan Cafe Reopening

You all know I love food right? Like I really love food. Fortunately I'm not a picky eater too, and will pretty much try anything. So when the Soton Bloggers were invited to the re-opening event for the Artisan in Southampton's cultural quarter I knew I needed to attend.

Based at the bottom of Solent University's Sir James Matthew Building,  right in the hub of Guildhall Square, The Artisan is a quaint and unique coffee shop. An almost hidden gem in the bustle of the city. 

I spent a lot of time in the coffee shop as a student, but have never been in since leaving my studying days behind me. 

They've rebranded and relaunched and I can quickly see this becoming a hit in the area, especially for coffee lovers. They specialise in unique and interesting coffees, including the Italian Affogato (coffee and ice cream... utterly fantastic) and a particular favourite of mine was a coffee made of vanilla latte and earl grey tea.

For the re-opening we were treated to plenty of coffee (yes some of us were slightly buzzed by the end of the evening) and samples of their lovely homemade food and miniature selections of their main menu.

Here's some photos...

The Artisan Cafe Reopening

The Artisan Cafe Reopening

The Artisan Cafe Reopening

The Artisan Cafe Reopening

The Artisan Cafe Reopening

The Artisan Cafe Reopening

The Artisan Cafe Reopening

The Artisan Cafe Reopening


I'm so looking forward to going back for a visit soon, and am already planning a visit for a lunch with the girls.

If you're in the area, make sure you pop by. You won't find a better coffee or hot chocolate in the city.
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Friday, 18 September 2015

FASHION: Dress up for date night with Wingz Fashion

Date Night with Wingz Fashion

We are fast approaching autumn, and dressing up always gets harder the colder it gets. Well I might have the solution for you with Wingz Fashion*.
You're probably like me and have many pretty strappy dresses. Which are totally great for the spring and summer, but a bit chilly for the autumn and winter.

Now we aren't all made of money, and we don't want all those pretty dresses collecting dust in our wardrobes... and Wingz Fashion* has the answer for us.

They're basically sleeves... and not the kind I wear on a daily basis. These are worn under strappy dresses, tops, playsuits...just about anything with no sleeves. So they're kind of perfect for transforming that summer dress to an autumn must have.

I took mine out on a date night with Dann last week - the Black Chiffon Volume Wingz*. The billowing sleeves are so unique and really dressed up my simple comfy outfit. Here's some photos from our evening!

Date Night with Wingz Fashion
^^look at those layers of chiffon!! Sooo pretty!^^

Date Night with Wingz Fashion

Date Night with Wingz Fashion

Date Night with Wingz Fashion

Date Night with Wingz Fashion
^^we had dinner at Jamie's Italian at Gunwharf Quays - probably one of the nicest dinners we've had on a date night in the UK... and I'm very aware that Dann's legs look awesome in the burgundy chinos!^^

Date Night with Wingz Fashion
^^Dann adores black spaghetti so he was a very happy bunny!^^

Date Night with Wingz Fashion




Wingz Fashion* have a huge number of varieties, including plain cotton blends, lace and chiffon, so you can create what ever look you fancy.

Thank you to Wingz Fashion for creating a new layering technique without the addition bulk, and transforming womens' wardrobes everywhere!
You can stay up to date with all their new release on Twitter.

I'm wearing black strap top, high waisted jeans and buckle pumps all from Primark, and my rucksack is Accessorize. Dann is in a limted editiont-shirt from Scared Stitches, chinos from Primark and boots from Next. 

Will you be buying any for your wardrobe?

*pr sample
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Tuesday, 15 September 2015

BEAUTY: Autumn lifesavers for skincare, haircare and beauty

I don't know about you but I love Autumn. 
Maybe it's because I'm a fan of warmer, darker colours, and sweaters, scarves and cosy nights in. One of my favourite things in the colder months is to visit my in-laws who have the best log burning fireplace in the living room, perfect for a night in from the howling wind.
So as we quickly approach the chilly nights, and blustery days I thought I'd share some of my top autumn saviour products for your skin, hair and beauty.

Autumn lifesavers for skincare, haircare and beauty

Let's start with skincare and general autumn lifesavers! These are really mostly focused on hands and lips.

Lips to start. If you're like me, the cold weather, and rapid change in temperature plays havoc with my lips. As a lipstick LOVER I really need my lips to be looking and feeling their best. So I have a few favourites that I really rely on.

You all know I love Lush right? (read my post on my recent Lush event if you don't know!) One of their best products to me is their lip scrubs. Personally I love their bubblegum lip scrub as above, but I've heard good things about their others. It basically helps remove any of that nasty dry and flaky skin, leaving your lips soft and smooth, and it kinda tastes fab!

Throughout the day, when not wearing lipstick, I fall back on my favourite lip balm. Nothing compares to Carmex. I've been a fan for years and just adore it. Plus have you seen all the flavours and new tinted ones!! LOVE! I will admit, my back-up is Badger Balm. It's a real hard blend, like vaseline but much tougher.

Finally, a new discovery and I have no idea how I've lived so long without it is Lipcote*. This stuff basically holds your lipstick in place... FOREVER!! OK not forever, but all day for sure. It's like a topcoat for your lips. This is a must to ensure your dark lipstick stays in place when you're drinking your Gingerbread Latte!


So hands. I use my hands all day, probably like you. Yes I'm in an office, but that typing, with the brisk British weather takes its toll. My go-to are Badger Balm, for the evenings, and L'Occitane for during the day. The Badger Balm is great for hands and any dry skin really and has a mild tangerine smell. As for L'Occitane, I'm currently still using their Cooling Hand Cream Gel from last year (I'm really stretching the tube out!), but think I will be replacing it with the Shea Zesty Hand Cream, as I love both their citrusy smells.

Last and by no means least for skincare and beauty, is kind of an all year round saviour! The Witch Blemish Stick* is a spots worst nightmare. We all know that heating and cold outside air reeks havoc on our skin, and this little hero fights pimples from day one. Just rub a little on the offending spot, and see it disappear in days.

Autumn lifesavers for skincare, haircare and beauty


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