LAURA STAFFORD-SMITH

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12.2.18

Perfect pancakes & dreamy topping combinations


I figure this might be quite a controversial thing to say, but I've never been much of a fan of pancakes.  Once the novelty of making pancakes for dinner wears off, I've always found myself feeling distinctly underwhelmed. 

That was until I discovered Jamie Oliver's American-style pancake recipe last year. Since then I've made these pancakes semi-regularly for weekend brunches whenever I've felt like doing something fancy and they are so easy. Literally, they've never gone wrong and it's amazing. 

I've always made crepe-style pancakes on pancake day, and I daresay I'll be making some again this year as they're Harvey's preference, but you can bet your bottom dollar I'll be having some American-style pancakes for myself. It'll be an interesting one for me as I've always preferred savoury pancakes (bacon and cheese if you want details, and trust me when I say that they're insane) but I'm most looking forward to the dessert course this year. 

I've upgraded and decided to 'treat' myself to some asparagus to add to my savoury pancakes this year, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little concerned about the lack of sauce and the thicker pancake combo. If you've got any suggestions as to a sauce which would go well with bacon, cheese, asparagus and pancakes, hit a girl up, otherwise I might have to settle for creme fraiche or copious amounts of melted cheese - pretty sure I already know which I'd prefer...

Anyway, I am for sure having these chocolate chip pancakes with red berries and white chocolate for dessert. Seriously what is not to like? I just use frozen mixed berries and defrost them in the microwave so you get warm berries and that gorgeous coulis-type juice to pour all over the top. Probably increase the amount of white chocolate shavings on the pancakes though, if we're being honest, because white chocolate and berries are one of my all-time favourite flavour combinations. 

I stick to these flavours every year, because I genuinely only tend to have pancakes for dinner once a year ~ despite every year suggesting we should have them more often ~ and it got me thinking about some other combinations I'd like to try. Here are some other suggestions I like the sound of: 


Do you have a favourite combination (or two, or three!) you make every year? I would LOVE to hear some other suggestions!

Happy pancake day x
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2.2.18

Is being busy always such a bad thing?



We've all been there. Your mum has sent you the fifth message in as many days asking where you are, whether you're alive and whether you're ignoring her intentionally. When you finally get round to responding, it's something along the lines of: 

"Sorry, I've been so busy!" 

"Oops, saw this message mid-meal and then completely forgot to reply!" 

"Yes I'm alive - my feet just haven't touched the ground all week, sorry!"

BUSY. BUSY. BUSY. That catch-all word which excuses pretty much any poor messaging/social etiquette - right? 

Hopefully it isn't just me that has found myself in this position one too many times. I used to be so addicted to my phone and so quick to respond to every single message I received, but over the course of the last year, it's as though I've dropped off the face of the earth every day come 5pm. 

I realised that when I do eventually respond, it's usually with an apology and an excuse, which nine times out of ten, is just that I've been mega busy, no further explanation required. Now it's no secret that my life has undergone a lot of change in the past 12 months, and I am genuinely a lot busier than I've been since 2013-2014 , but why do I always feel the need to apologise? Are you the same?

I am one of those people who thrives off of having lots of fingers in many different pies. I like to have a long to-do list of tasks, which I like to cross off periodically throughout the day and I like to keep things as varied as possible. If I don't make those lists, I literally get ~nothing~ done all day, and wind up feeling really crappy and demotivated by the end of it. Busy, therefore, is best and I don't end up remembering important things I should've done when I'm getting into bed later that night. 

So why do I feel the need to apologise for that? And why does the word 'busy' have such negative connotations to me? 

A quick scroll through Instagram on pretty much any day of the week will guarantee you coming across at least five or six people with to-do lists as long as their arms. At this point, I have to confess I'm guilty of exactly this, and the phrase is taken directly from a pre-Christmas post of mine. I find lately that there's so much pressure to be omnipresent, particularly on social media; you don't post on Instagram for a few days in a row, you take a huge hit on follower count and you feel the need to explain yourself on your return. I don't really understand that pattern of behaviour, and I try not to take any notice because ultimately, it's just a bit of fun, but I can't help but feel the pressure to post, the pressure to be present and the pressure to look like I'm doing something interesting with my life. 

When I was younger I imagined myself to be a super successful, corporate-type adult, so busy I had to delegate tasks and employ junior staff to complete them, knowing I would then spend the evening whining about it to friends over a bottle of wine later that night. Sounds like I basically imagined I would grow up to be a total bitch, and whilst that's not the career path I've actually chosen, I still carry that stereotypical, and negative view of being busy around with me today. 

But, and this is a hard-fought lesson I've learned, being busy doesn't have to mean rushing around, at Duracell bunny pace, ticking six things off of a to-do list at any one time. Busy can be having a bath without responding to emails at the same time, it can be taking a walk or sitting out in the summer sun, hell, busy can be whatever you want it to be. Busy can be that Harry Potter marathon you've been threatening to have for the past few months, or the well overdue catch up with a friend you've neglected. Busy can be taking twenty minutes to flick through a magazine with a frothy coffee (my favourite), burning your favourite candle and singing along to The Greatest Showman soundtrack. 

Busy can be just about whatever you want it to be, and it doesn't always have to be just an excuse. I've always apologised because I've historically felt like taking time out to myself, and not always being accountable, was a bad thing, almost as though I had some some misplaced sense of duty to respond to people instantly regardless of the context and regardless of whatever else I'm doing in my own life.

I've started to see a bit of a shift from that thinking on social media lately, and and I'm all for it. Yesterday was Time To Talk day, and there was an amazing amount of positivity online; mental wellbeing really is having a moment and if you're one of those people who never allows themselves the time to just be, I'd recommend giving it a go - leave your phone upstairs, and just disconnect. It's amazing how quickly you get used to it. 

And when, later, you find yourself typing out the words 'sorry, been so busy' or something along those lines, take a second to check yourself before you wreck yourself. Do you really need to apologise? Or did you actually enjoy taking some well-earned time out?


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27.1.18

Valentine's day gift guide: UNDER £50






Shrove Tuesday, Chinese New Year, and Valentine's Day - the second full week of February has a lot to answer for this year.

I'm willing to bet that pretty much every one of you reading this post will be a lover of pancakes, be that the blogger's-favourite American-style pancake, or the classic crepe-style pancake, and most of you will be mildly intrigued by the Chinese New Year, but I can't call it for Valentine's Day, being one of those tricky public holidays which is guaranteed to divide opinion year on year.

Whether you love it or hate it, whether you go all out or you'd rather go to bed early and pretend it isn't happening, there's no denying that Valentine's Day is on the way. Ahead of the hundreds of emails we're all about to receive, and the too-good-to-miss offers about to start popping up all over the internet, I thought I'd compile a little round up of some of my favourite gift options, in case you're getting ready to start dropping hints already...

Valentine's Day

1) Bonnie Non-Padded Balconette Bra, Boux Avenue, £30.00
2) Wishbone Ear Cuff in Gold, Astrid & Miyu, £39.00
5) Amazon Echo Dot, Amazon, £49.99
6) Gold Thin Molten Ring, Missoma, £49.00
7) Black Croc Moon Clutch, Aurora, £30.00
8) Rose Bombshell, LUSH, £4.50
9) Large Geometric Copper Mirror, Lisa Angel, £12.00
10) Melting Hearts Strawberry and White Chocolate, Hotel Chocolat, £5.50

V day 2



1) Tuberose Eau De Toilette, ZARA, £12.99
2) Chestnut Suede Mules, Next, £20.00
3) Scalloped Leather Heart Keychain, Kate Spade, £50.00
4) This Modern Love by Will Darbyshire, Amazon, £12.99
5) Gold Naos Trio Star Creeper Earrings, Oliver Bonas, £22.00
6) Pomegranate Luxury Candle With Lid, The White Company, £40.00
7) Sterling Silver Textured Squiggle Earrings, ASOS, £10.00
8) Life in Pictures Photo Album, Oliver Bonas, £34.00
9) Mixed Metallic Set of Four Champagne Glasses, Oliver Bonas, £32.00
10) Lux Letterbox Flowers, Bloom & Wild, £30.00




So here's hoping you all have a Happy Valentine's Day! If nothing else, take it as an excuse to treat yourself to something special, just because (1) January is finally over, and (2) you bloody well deserve it! I'm mostly excited about the opportunity to cook/go out for something really nice to eat, but I'm sure that will come as no surprise to most of you reading this...

(P.S. I forgot to put it in the body of the post, but the Nuxe Dry Oil Prodigieuse is always a winner!) 
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15.1.18

#bluemonday

I finished dinner the other night and as I sat at the table letting my food go down, I realised I was in a bad mood. And not just any bad mood, but one of those phenomenally hideous, I want to sit here and do nothing because all the alternatives are utter crap kind of bad moods. Now, we're living in the 21st century, in a world of possibility right at our fingertips, but as I sat and explored my mood in my mind, I came to the realisation that I was bored. 

Yeah, you read that right. BORED.

Just as though I'd reverted back to 13 year old self, I adopted a policy of instantly objecting to any suggestions Harvey made (some good suggestions, might I add) just because; because I'd done them before, because I wanted to do something different, because I was cold - you get the gist. Anyway we put Friends on, and after quite a while I started to smile again, and realised this was probably just the late onset of a post-Christmas, post-NYE come down. After all, we spend over a month planning for and celebrating Christmas, it's only natural that life feels boring afterwards.

Today is apparently #bluemonday and so I resolved to write this blog post, mainly for myself to refer back to, but also just in case you've got a severe case of the January blues too, to give you some suggestions of ways to cure them.

BINGE

On box sets, not chocolate or alcohol. If you have Netflix and you haven't seen that the entire 10 series of Friends are on there, WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN DOING SINCE THE 1ST? No seriously, what have you been doing? I've seen it in bits and pieces before now, but I've never managed to watch it from the start consecutively so I have been ~living~ for Friends so far this year. It's one of those programmes that Harvey and are watching together so it's pretty much all we're watching in the evenings right now; it's also driving me crazy how much I want to watch it in the day but can't, because Harvey isn't home. Anyway, it's just the ultimate in feel good TV and the characters are all just amazing; I can already tell I'll be watching it on repeat all year, and you should too.

GET STUCK INTO A GOOD BOOK

Something I want to do this year is read more. There's nothing quite like flicking through the pages of a good book, forgetting the problems of your present and immersing yourself into someone else's world for a little while. I've picked up two books so far this year, Little Black Book by Otegha Uwagba and Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman. Both very different books (I think) but I'm excited to read both. Honeyman's book is fiction and comes highly recommended both by Instagram and the critical literary world; I'm a few chapters in and already loving it so I can't wait to see what happens next. The Little Black Book is totally different - a toolkit for working women - and something I'm hoping will help me to motivate myself and make me more productive both in terms of work and blogging. 

TAKE A NAP

Christmas is EXHAUSTING. I for one find myself playing catch up all January, catching up on things I didn't manage to get done in December, and on hours of sleep I missed because I was too busy having fun. I live for naps, whether they're 15 minutes or 90 minutes long, so this January I'll be making sure I get plenty of them. Feeling tired? Have a nap. In a bad mood? Have a nap. Just need a little boost of energy? HAVE A NAP. Trust me, you'll thank me later.

GO FOR A WANDER

Note that I purposefully didn't say go for a walk. I know it's cold, often raining, and it's much easier to stay at home in the warm, but going for a wander in January can be so refreshing. If you're anything like me, you'll have resolved to get back in the gym in January but it's always heaving; so why not pop on some of your cosiest winter clothes, and get outside? I'm a super fast walker, and believer in the introduction of slow lanes on the pavement, so I tend to travel everywhere on foot at a million miles an hour.  Something I really like to do is make a deliberate effort to walk ~slowly~ every once in a while so I actually get to see what's around me, and this is the perfect excuse. If you do go for a wander, look up - it's often more beautiful than looking forward. 

TRY SOMETHING NEW

A new lipstick, a new hobby, a new food, a new outfit,  a new something, a new anything. January is the start of a new year (revelation central over here) and a figurative clean slate, so why not take it as an opportunity to get stuck into something you can get excited about? People always talk about changing things they didn't love the previous year come the start of a new one, myself included, but why not embrace those things you would ordinarily seek to change, and instead try something new? I haven't worked out what my new 'thing' is yet, but there's still a few weeks left to decide - I'm off to the hairdressers this week, so by the time you're reading this, there might be a new hairstyle floating about on my insta. New hair, who dis kinda situation. I've honestly been wanting to post that as a caption for ages, so watch this space!

Whatever you decide to do, you can find me over here on my little corner of the internet, just busy bossing 2018, hopefully...


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14.1.18

Why I won't be weekly vlogging through 2018...

I vlogged every single day of 2017, and I bloody loved it. 

Back in November/December time, I decided I didn't want to weekly vlog through 2018, and I've had a lot of questions as to why I'm not doing it, so I wanted to make a little video to explain. It's very chatty (read: there's probably a lot of rambling), so your best bet is probably to grab a nice hot drink and a blanket and give it a watch. Or you could stick it on in the background while you're cooking, you know, it is actually your choice...

For what is ~I promise~ the final time, I just wanted to say a huge, huge thank you to anyone who has watched these vlogs and been so supportive throughout 2017; you guys are absolutely mint. Super shout out to Harvey too, although I know he won't read this, but I probably couldn't have done it without him; he's an absolute diamond. Soppy part over, on to the video...



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10.1.18

Louise Thomas-Minns


Nestled on Bridewell Alley, and tucked away in the heart of the Norwich Lanes, sits one of the jewels in the crown of Norwich's local businesses, U and Your Skin. 

Opened by celebrity Skin Therapist Louise Thomas-Minns in 2013, U and Your Skin provides a bespoke skincare service, tailoring treatments to your exact needs, instead of following strict pre-determined regimes. Four years down the line, Louise is currently working on her passion project, her very own skincare range; I met with her for dinner at The Tipsy Vegan a few months back to discuss future plans. We were accompanied by Laura and Shelley, and between the three of us, spent the evening quizzing Louise about all things skincare.

In anticipation of the launch of Louise Thomas Skin Care (coming soon!), I decided I wanted to get to know the woman behind the brand. Without any further ado...


LSS: Where did it all start for you?
LTM: So, day one of training as a Beauty Therapist [I] had horrific acne. I thought that was the end of the world but actually it was that negative experience of my skin that led me to then become fascinated with skin health. Working as a Beauty Therapist, 22 years ago, my thing was always full facials, that was my thing, and then I started to heal myself, which then allowed me to work out the formula that is the U and Your Skin facial. Having realised that there was a formula, I then started applying that to healing other people.

LSS: Looking ahead to the launch of your skincare brand, how did you get to where you are today?
LTM: Having acne has helped, never thought I'd say that, but it helped because I can now empathise with the psychological element of having a skin issue, but also, my clients have taught me a lot along the way. They have educated me almost, as to what they want, what they don't want, what's important to them, what the gaps are in the market, so it's actually being a hands on therapist for all that time and interacting with those people, that has allowed me to hone in on what I want to create.

LSS: So, I follow you on Instagram and I'm a big fan of your Instagram stories. You always seem to be very busy, and balancing a lot of different aspects of your life at the same time - how do you keep motivated through all that?
LTM: I would say coffee and gin; that's probably not very on brand but that would be true! I'm naturally quite driven and quite competitive with myself, but I also take inspiration from other amazing entrepreneurial women around me. Instagram is a platform I love and which opens up so much so now I can see what those other inspirational women are doing, and that...
LSS: In turn inspires you?
LTM: Yeah, and brings support, almost, even if you're not always directly talking to them. I think I've just always had that kind of natural, gutsy ability to just keep pushing. Definitely I've had lots of highs and lots of lows over the years, but from that I've learned to keep pushing and not take no for an answer.


LSS: Okay, so you said you've had highs and lows. So when you have days when you're feeling unmotivated or a bit low, what do you do to turn it around?
LTM: Actually I think this is really important and I talk about this a lot to clients. Clients come and see me about their skin issues, and then we look deeper and there's always a root cause for why that's manifesting itself physically. For me, I now have a strategy of how I deal with those days, which everyone gets, and it's about actually being kind to myself and accepting, just accepting that I'm having a day where it's difficult to find that motivation. Maggie definitely helps, because you can't really have a down day, which is sometimes really tough but actually is also good because you have to go 'well I'm the adult here, and I'm the mum and she's looking up to me so I've got to keep going and demonstrate'. I think definitely there were a lot of years where I used to beat myself up for having days where I wasn't feeling on top form all the time but now I just accept it and go 'okay that's what I'm feeling right now' and then usually it passes quite quickly.

LSS: So I have recently started working from home on a permanent basis and what I have found, is that it makes me really lazy with my skincare despite having lots of time on my hands to do it better.
LW: Naughty Laura...
LSS:  If you had to recommend a really basic skincare routine to anyone else in my position, what would it be?
LTM: Cleanse and moisturise.
LSS: Just cleanse and moisturise?
LTM: Yep. They are your two key elements because if your canvas, as I like to call it, isn't clean, nothing else you put on it is going to respond anyway and if you don't replenish that moisture, not just moisture but also that lipid barrier, that protective, antibacterial barrier, then you're going to get lots of problems arising. So even if you've got oily skin, you still need to restore those barriers.
LW: Day and night?
LTM: Day and night. Another thing I always say to clients as well, up until this week as I've been a bit of a social butterfly, ordinarily as soon as I'm home from work or whatever I'm doing for the day with Maggie, that's my shower, that's my time to take my makeup off. A lot of clients will leave it till literally they're so dog-tired and about to fall into bed and then they don't do it, but if you're not going anywhere, while your children are having their tea or whatever, go and do your routine and then it's done for the evening and you haven't got to go 'oh I can't be bothered to take my make up off and put my products on'.
LW: I put my pyjamas on or my cosies on quite early - I can't bear to have my work clothes on so I...
LTM: Yeah me too.
LW: ...get them off; why wouldn't you also want to take your face off?
LTM: Yeah, so do your routine early if you're having a night in.

LSS: So you said cleanse and moisturise - growing up, for me the message was cleanse, tone, and moisturise and I've spoken to you before about toner and how you feel about that...
LTM: It depends on your cleanser. I'm not a massive fan of toners, unless you're using quite a traditional kind of french way of treating your skin, and you're using a cream cleanser or a cleansing milk or lotion. That's why toners were really developed - to remove the dirty cleanser. If you're using washes, and you're using washcloths, muslin cloths, there's no need always to tone after as well. There's a big trend now for acid toners, which are really efficient and I have used them; definitely if you're using something like that, which I would consider more as an exfoliant and not necessarily a daily occurrence, then yeah you don't need to use a traditional toner too. If you do tone, make sure it's alcohol free.

LSS: Great tip! Biggest skincare myth?
LW: Oooh good question!  
SH: Link to my blog post - I shared five... [laughs]
LTM: Do that, yes, because I'm sitting here and I can't actually remember one of them which is really  bad, so yeah, thanks for that Shelley. There is a blog post where I share five... [laughs]


LSS: In that case, let's go for the opposite - the single best skincare tip you can give?
LTM: Wow, see the one that instantly came to mind was Baz Luhrmann, so, wear sunscreen. I'll go with that.

LSS: Worst piece of advice you've ever received?
LTM: About anything?
LSS: Yep.
LTM: Erm, that's a really hard question - I'm really struggling with that. There must be some!
LSS: You can email me or let me know later?
LTM: I might have to message you about that - I might need to think about it.

Louise later messaged me on Instagram with the following worst bit of advice ever received: 
"Get a perm! Disaster resulting in having a mini mohican down my centre parting as it burnt my hair away!" 
I decided not to ask Louise for a photo, so you'll just have to imagine that one for yourself! 

LSS: On the flip side, what's the biggest thing you've learnt from your journey, personally, about life, about anything..?
LTM: To be myself. There were a lot of years where, especially when I was working in a corporate environment, I was being somebody else's brand so I was being somebody I wasn't and I didn't always know how to switch off from that person to actually break those barriers down. I definitely spent my twenties being somebody I wasn't, when I look back, so now I just try and be true, which is obviously very important when you're also trying to build a brand!
LSS: That's so true - because people invest in you. When you put your name to a brand, people invest in you, and people want to know you, as you.
LTM: It's human nature for us to be nosy, isn't it?

LSS: Especially on Instagram! Okay, so if you were stuck on a desert island what three things would you take with you?
LTM: Three things? Not necessarily skincare?
LSS: Anything - you could take some skincare...
LW: Well you should have suncream in there! [laughs]
LTM: [laughing] If it was only things...sunscreen, a notebook and a pen.


LSS: Teach me something I don't know in the next two minutes.
LW: Hey Siri, set a timer for two minutes.
SIRI: Okay, two minutes and counting...
LTM: I can teach you to Cha Cha, if you like?
LSS: Let's do it.

Two minutes of Cha Cha in the middle of the restaurant later...

LTM: I have not had enough to drink for this!
LSS: [laughs] ...and my last question, what's the most interesting thing about you?
LTM: Maybe that I could've been a professional Latin American Ballroom dancer? I was always going to do that, or skin.

(Louise Thomas Skin Care will be launching in Autumn 2018. For more information about treatments available at U and Your Skin, head on over to their website (linked above) for a treatment list. If you're new to facials, I'd personally recommend starting with the Signature Facial - I had one the other week and it was incredible!)

PHOTOS BY ESTHER LING PHOTOGRAPHY

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5.1.18

2017 highlights reel


I'd be the first to admit that 2017 was not my year and whilst there may be a lot I'm glad to see the back of, there were also some pretty amazing highlights. I did and achieved a lot of things I never thought I would, and consequently have some pretty fabulous moments to look back on.

Chances are you won't be as interested in recounting them as I am, so I'll keep it short and snappy, but I wanted to write this blog post so I could look back on it and remember some of the best bits of what was otherwise a year I'd rather forget! There were so many amazing blogger events I was lucky enough to get invited to, and I met some amazing and inspiring people along the way; I feel quite sure this blog post could go on for a very long time, but I'll keep it to 17 moments purely because it was 2017, you know...

In no particular order:

  1. I was invited by IntuChapelfield to go to the races at Great Yarmouth; not only was it my first time at the races, but it was great to get to know the team at Chapelfield! I've worked with them since and met with them for Christmas cocktails and I can't wait to see what opportunities 2018 brings! 
  2. Harv and I went away for the first time in years. Buying and redecorating a house is expensive business, it turns out, and Bruges is beautiful... 
  3. March of 2017 brought with it Norwich Fashion Week and I was lucky enough to go to several amazing shows this year. If I had to pick just one show of the week, my personal highlight was the Hair and Makeup Show; so much effort had been made by local salons to style each model to a particular theme and I loved it. Drama and elegance rolled into one; would ten out of ten recommend. 
  4. We finished our garden, and finished decorating every room in the house. 
  5. I had my first shoot with a professional photographer. Not going to lie, I was pretty terrified beforehand, but it was so much fun and I can't wait to do it again sometime.
  6. My birthday! My family came up to Norfolk again and we just had a lovely walk on the beach and some great food at The Pigs in Edgefield. There's honestly not much more I could ever ask for! 
  7. I quit my job, and spent the first part of the afternoon sipping Prosecco at the Rooftop Gardens in the sun, followed by an evening spent in the garden eating pizza and drinking more Prosecco. I remember feeling all of the emotions (I cried and smiled probably in almost equal measure) but it's a very happy memory to look back on.
  8. We bought our first nice car and I'm still just as in love with it today as I was back then. 
  9. We spent a gorgeous day in the sun on the broads with some really good friends on 23rd August; one of those days I'll always look back on with a rosy glow I think. 
  10. I was invited by McDonald's to go behind the scenes at my local restaurant and make my own Big Mac. Having been a long time lover of the Big Mac, this was, in the least dramatic sense of the phrase, a bit of a dream come true for me, and proof that hard work does eventually pay off! 
  11. My dad whisked me and Harvey, my sister and some other family off to London for dinner at The Ivy. The food was exquisite and followed up by going to see An American In Paris; the whole day was completely perfect and an experience I would very much like to repeat at some point. 
  12. The Norfolk and Norwich festival hit the city in early summer, and I was very kindly invited to see some of the shows. I don't think I'll ever forget how I felt watching Casus Circus perform Driftwood in the Spiegeltent; it was honestly terrifying and exhilarating in equal measure. 
  13. Harvey's birthday BBQ brought with it some of the best sunshine of the summer; although I was inside for a lot of it, it was a great afternoon/evening and everyone seemed so happy albeit a little sunburnt! 
  14. Continuing with the theme of parties, the Christmas party was another highlight; to be honest, the Christmas party is always a highlight for me, so this one was a no brainer. 
  15. I know I've already mentioned finishing the house, but decorating the kitchen was a labour of love. It's the second time we'd decorated it since moving in as we weren't happy with it the first time round, and challenging and time-consuming as it was to cover all the worktops in marble sticky back plastic, it looks ten times better for the effort we put into it. Hopefully we will love this one for a lot longer than the last! 
  16. Harvey graduated! I couldn't be prouder. 
  17. And finally, Christmas. Once again this year I did the rounds and spent god knows how many hours travelling, although not as the designated driver this year thanks to my sister and Harvey. That did mean I got to spend time with lots of different family members on the day and with Harvey's family on Christmas eve so it was definitely worth it, but I'm thinking I'd just love to have a quiet Christmas with Harvey this year, shift-permitting, of course. 

Thanks for the memories 2017. 2018 we're coming for you!

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4.1.18

The 1st Haul of 2018...


...and it's an ASOS haul (as if you're surprised!).

I have been going crazy for the sales this December/January time, and one of the resounding winner of the sales this time around was ASOS. I think there were at least three occasions where I fell into a late night ASOS black hole, the result of which was numerous orders and a haul video! Thank god for ASOS premier right?

Sale hauls are my absolute favourite anyway, and with a new camera/microphone set up to get to grips with, what better excuse? Since editing this video I keep thinking I need to pick up something for the background - the grey wall isn't really cutting it for me I don't think - hopefully you can just see past that!

Have you picked up any gorgeous pieces in the sales? Have you got any recommendations? I'm still scouting for bargains over here, so hook a girl up and let me know!

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30.12.17

Last minute NYE top outfit tips

Love it or hate it, New Year's Eve is undeniably one of the biggest party events of the year. Whether you're heading to your local for a couple of drinks, spending a glamorous evening consuming Champagne and numerous courses of food, or fitting in some quality time with family and friends, dressing to impress is never too much. 

Although anything goes, NYE dressing can still be a bit of a sartorial minefield. As my New Years Eve's typically tend comprise no more than several drinks at the pub with friends, I don't tend to go all out, but it is nice to add interest to an outfit with the addition of a few key accessories, a slightly different makeup look or by wearing something in a slightly different way.

I'm aware that NYE is now only round the corner, but if you're after a few tips for ways to up your game with things you probably already own, keep scrolling.

    1. Velvet anything. Velvet EVERYTHING. I'll be going for velvet shoes personally, but Megan Ellaby has a fab blog post about a Miss Selfridge velvet suit if that's more your vibe. 
    2. Statement earrings; see earlier blog post. 
    3. If you're keeping your outfit understated, why not go all out on your makeup? I received the Urban Decay Naked Heat palette for Christmas, so I'll be trialling out some of the bolder shades from that on NYE. 
    4. Leather look trousers look great with almost anything, and are pretty ideal for that post-midnight moment when everyone is spilling prosecco/wine/beer over each other in some overenthusiastic attempt to do the Auld Lang Syne dance. One wipe and boom, as if it never happened! 
    5. If standing out isn't really you, tart those nails up with a bit of glitter. If you want to fall squarely on trend, why not tap into the chrome nail trend? Subtle, but a nice nod to the changing of the year. 
    6. Rock a bold lip; dark berry or burgundy add sufficient drama. Just keep an eye out for rogue lipstick on your nose from champagne flutes! 
    7. Apparently burgundy on your lips AND eyes is also a thing... Only a matter of time before you're supposed to sport a horizontal line on your nose too. 
    8. Glossy eyelids; imagine Vaseline on your eyelid kinda vibes. Looks bang on paired with a matte lip. 
    9. A messy up-do never fails to impress, especially paired with sharp tailoring or a high neck dress. 
    10. In contrast, why not slick your hair back into a low ponytail or bun using your favourite (read: your boyfriend's) gel? I'm dying to try this one out, but I'm just not sure whether I'm brave enough! 
    11. Socks and sandals. The more clash the better. 
    12. Dab glitter on your brow bone instead of highlighter; glitter eyeliner could be ideal for precision application. 
    13. BELT UP. Make a statement by adding a bold belt to an outfit you've never worn it with before. This one from ASOS is a winner; you've missed the cut off for guaranteed Next Day Delivery now I think, but chances are you own something similar already.
    14. Put your best foot forward in your brightest, most garish pair of shoes. Pair with a clashing print or an all black outfit for optimum effect. 
    15. Faux fur and all of the sparkle. If you can't wear it on NYE, when can you? 

So there we have the last blog post of 2017. I hope you have a banging New Year's Eve; don't forget your lipstick for top-ups and maybe a swipe of Lipcote if you'll be kissing someone on the stroke of midnight! 

Thanks for reading and watching throughout the year, I can't wait to share with you what I have planned for 2018. 

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