6.17.2017

Two Nights in Edinburgh.


When it comes to spare time, there's nothing I love more than seeing the great outdoors, exploring new locations and sampling what's on offer in terms of local cuisine, bars and shops. 

Matt and myself recently headed up to Edinburgh to spend a couple of days doing just that. It was Matt's first visit, so the pressure was on to make sure he loved the city as much as I do. Sitenote: kidding,  I'm pretty confident that it is impossible to dislike the place.

After a smooth two-hour train journey, we arrived in Edinburgh and were welcoming with glorious sunshine. We had a little time before we could check in to our Airbnb, so we hunted down a cafe to grab a quick drink. Edinburgh Press Club was just the trick. Situated on Cockburn Street, the cafe (and bar come the eve) is in a prime location and serves incredible homemade grub. We weren't too hungry and this point, however a further visit naturally had to take place, so keep on scrollin' for some serious food porn.

Edinburgh Press Club

As mentioned, we opted to go down the Airbnb route. Neither of us had done so before, so setting up a profile took a little bit of time, however I will definitely be using the site again. It's incredible how much choice you are given, and some of the places on offer are just ah-mazing. After narrowing down to suit our needs for our short break (we wanted something local, quirky and fairly reasonable - we knew we'd be spending a small amount of time there), we found VieAmhor. Described as a 5* space, it was just off the Royal Mile and sat at the foot of the castle. Perfect for those who are wanting to be right in the centre. The apartment was very homely and clean, and the owners, Amanda and Anna were extremely friendly and happy to accommodate when it came to any needs we had. We were even able to check in two hours early which made exploring a whole lot easier!

If you want to have a nosy at what the place looked like (we somehow managed to get a distinct lack of photos in the apartment *blogging fail*) check out the listing, here.

After dropping off our bags, we then headed out to enjoy the heat. Of course we had to have a wee stroll up to the castle to enjoy the views...

Edinburgh Castle

Being massive BrewDog fans (the Newcastle bar is one of our all-time favourites) we had to go and check out Edinburgh's. Unsurprisingly, it was equally as chilled. It's worth noting that BD also seem to have a knack for hiring the nicest staff. A big thumbs up from me.

BrewDog Edinburgh

We'd had a craving for a burrito for a while by this point (a regular occurrence in our relationship), and had spotted a nice looking independent restaurant when leaving the Press Club. Viva Mexico is, again, on Cockburn Street, and serves a wide range of authentic Mexican food. We pretty much demolished the lot in 15 minutes, so I'd highly recommend a visit if you're in Edinburgh and looking to spice up your life, as The Spice Girls would say.

After a good old snooze, we woke the next day at ventured back out, this time, to the main shopping destination in the capital, Princess Street. Matt had been itching for a new iPhone for quite some time, so after a visit to the Apple store, he emerged with a new snazzy piece of tech. And what better way to celebrate this than with a Starbucks in the park, right? 


Fast forward a few hours and we found ourselves back in the Edinburgh Press Club. Call us predictable, but we were seriously eager to sample their food. 


I'm a serious sucker for anything avocado, so the below seemed like an obvious choice for moi...


I wish we'd tracked our step-count, as I dare say we locked up a fair few over the three days.


A few hours of shopping later, we were feelin' hungry, again. This time, pizza was calling our name, so back to BrewDog we went.


Sadly we missed out on taking any shots of the pizza as frankly, we were too busy stuffing our faces. Strike two? However, it was top notch and puts Dominoes to shame. BrewDog only offer pizza in terms of food, but that's not necessarily a bad thing as boy do they do them well.


Upon recommendation from one of our pals, we then decided to go for a little tipple at The Devil's Advocate. If you picture a bar with historic, quirky Harry Potter vibes, this would be it. We genuinely could've sat there for hours. I'd never been in a bar quite like it.


The next (and final) day, sob, we decided to hit up the Royal Botanic Gardens. Of course we needed something to prep us for the day ahead, so we tried out Burr & Co on George Street. It was another scorching day, so we sat by the window to watch the world go by. 

Burr & Co Edinburgh
Burr & Co Edinburgh

After this, we hopped on the bus to the gardens. In hindsight, we could have probably walked in, but as we were pushed for time we felt the bus would be a better option.

The sun was shining and the temperate was mid-twenties, making it the perfect day to go and take some photos. 

fjallraven kanken

Essentially, it's up there as one of the prettiest places you could visit within a city. So, for that reason, I think I'll let the pictures do the talkin'...




Have you ever visited Edinburgh? I'd love to know any recommendations you have for our next visit!

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6.07.2017

Six To Listen To On Spotify #4

What to listen to on Spotify

I don't know about you, but if you ask me, there's seriously nothing better than coming across new ear candy. Whether I'm in the car or at my desk, I'm pretty much tuned in to my Spotify Premium account (the best £5/£10 you will spend a month, no doubt about it).

So with that said,  I thought it was about time that I added another post to my top Spotify recommendations collection...


The Hunna
I recently saw these guys in action at Newcastle's Hit The North festival and they were 10/10. The four-piece, originally from Hertfordshire, sure know how to get a crowd going. Their *technically* self-titled album, 100 (Hunna is slang for 100), is an absolute treat if you're a lover of indie-rock. You & Me, Alive and what could be described as the ultimate two-fingers to disbelievers, We Could Be, are my personal favourites.


NoMBe
One of the real perks of Spotify is the 'Daily Mix' section. Fresh playlist that feature not only your go-to tunes, but a cocktail of songs you may or may not have already heard. Noah McBeth (a.k.a. NoMBe happens to be the Godson of legend, Chaka Khan, so I guess it was only inevitable that he was going to create some real gems. Wait, Letting In and Kemosable are definitely worth a play.


Dustin Tebbutt
It'd be bordering on impossible to feel anything other than chilled when listening to Dustin Tebbutt. If you're in need of a new go-to album for your next roadtrip, First Light is it. With his calming sound taking inspiration from landscapes and the changeable seasons, I'll be making sure I snap up tickets when he announces his next UK-based tour. Add The Breach, Plans and The Wolves to your listen-list, stat.


SOAK
SOAK, or Bridie Monds-Watson as she's known in everyday life, rather cleverly created her on-stage name from combining her influence of soul and folk. Her vocals are an absolute pleasure to listen to and the perfect playlist choice for a relaxed eve at home. Blud, Be a noBody and Sea Creatures are simply b-e-a-utiful.


The XX
Is there a band cooler than The XX? It's unlikely. Their sound is somewhat difficult to describe, but it's safe to say they've found their own niche. Groovy, well-composed and a lil bit moody (hit up their original self-titled album for the latter). I would seeeriously love to watch them do their thing, and I'm pretty damn gutted that I missed their UK tour earlier in the year *sob*. Hit the play button on Intro, Hold On and Say Something Loving.


Coasts
Looking for something a little Summery now we're into the warmer months? Coasts may well be for you. The Bristol-based band are described on Spotify as a creating 'spirited and hook-driven electro-indie' hits, which pretty much hits the nail on the head. I'm rather fond of Your Heart Starts Beating, Your Soul and Oceans.

Are you a fan of any of the above? I'd love to know any music recommendations you may have!


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6.05.2017

Latest in Beauty Subscription Box.

Latest in Beauty subscription

I've never really been one for beauty boxes. I love the concept of trying new products, discovering 'holy grails' to add to my routine, but paying £20 or so a month for surprise items you might not get along with has always put me off. 

Enter Latest in Beauty. Essentially the brand have it spot on; a beauty box personalised by you. Choice either 3, 6 or 9 products each month and look forward to a beautifully packed delivery (which arrives very promptly, I may add). 

When it comes to the range of brands on offer, we're not talkin' any old rubbish. You can expect to pick from the crème de la crème of beauty. Whether you're a long-time lover of anything from Elemis or La Roche-Posay, there's something for you. It's also worth noting that the samples are far from stingy, with many on offer being well above 20ml.


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Subscription 411

3 products = £9p/m (or get a one-off box for £16 + p&p)

6 products = £15p/m (or get a one-off box for £22 + p&p)

9 products = £18p/m (or get a one-off box for £25 + p&p)

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LIB also stock a range of one-off collection boxes which are also worth having a peek at - they would also make brilliant gifts!

But what did I snap up in my box?..

Latest in Beauty subscription box

Moroccan Oil Hair Treatment (25ml)
This bad-boy went straight in my basket when I spotted it. I first tried Morrocan Oil back when I joined the world of blogging as everyone and their dog was raving about the stuff (from trying it was clear why). Not only does it feel like an absolute treat to apply, but over time you can expect stronger, shinier locks. Oh, and it smells bloody brilliant too. A big thumbs up all round for this one.

Eucerin Intensive Lip Balm (10ml)
Eucerin is one of those quality brands that really caters to a number of skin concerns. I'm on the drier side of things, and I found their moisturisers to be a total lifesaver during the cold Winter months. As I love sporting matte lip from time-to-time, I thought it'd be worth sampling what they have to offer when it comes to the pout side of things.

Oskia Renaissance Mask (12ml)
I'm pretty confident that you'll be familiar with the cult classic that is the Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel (check out my review of that, here). As the name would suggest, this is its mask-shaped partner in crime. Cleansing, smoothing and hydrating; this gem is basically what I look for in a treatment.

Jurlique Rosewater Balancing Mist (15ml)
Anyone that knows me, knows that I have a serious thing for facial sprays. It's rare that I don't have one stashed in my handbag. Whether you need an extra wake up call first thing, or want to give your makeup a quick refresh, they're basically your BFF. I've been keen to try from Jurlique from a while now, and what better product to kick start my taster? This smells beautiful and feels so cooling on the skin. Oh, and I l-o-v-e the glass packaging. Very fancy.

Latest in beauty review

Indeed Labs Hydraluron Moisture Boosting Mask (1x mask)
Indeed Labs are known for their no-nonsense skincare, with their Hydraluron Serum being a firm favourite for many, myself included. As a dry skinned gal (as I've already bored you with above *snore*), this is right up my street. I'm yet to try a sheet mask so I'm looking forward to giving this a go. I think I may even save doing this for when my boyfriend is round as they're pretty damn attractive, no?

Embryolisse Lait Créme Concentré (5ml)
Another cult favourite, I've wanted to try this for the longest time. I'm a real fan of multipurpose products, and this happens to be a moisturiser, makeup remover and primer all in one; what's not to like?

The White Company Seychelles Hand & Nail Cream (30ml)
I don't think I've ever tried a scent from The White Company and been disappointed. I'm hooked on their candles (their Winter fragrance is what dreams are made of) and even just a step into their store makes me want to spritz myself in their ever-growing, nose-pleasing range. Seychelles is the perfect choice for the Summer months, made up of a cocktail of bergamot, amber and vanilla. I keep this on my desk at work and look forward to applying it every few hours. Yes I really am that cool.

Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Cleansing Pads (5 pads)
Exfoliating pads are quickly becoming the new thing when it comes to giving your skin a boost. With glycolic acid, the Nip + Fab pads are gently enough to be used on a daily basis with the added hydrating benefit of hyaluronic acid to leave the complexion clear and radiant.

Omorovicza Refining Facial Polish (30ml)
Speaking all things exfoliation, I also opted for the Refining Facial Polish from Omorovicza (pronounce that one five times really fast). If you're not a fan of abrasive scrubs this is definitely one to look in to thanks to its gentle formulation. The fact you're done in one single swipe also gives it serious brownie points for convenience.

As well as the above, Latest in Beauty also throw in a handy black pouch and two extra goodies (I received the DHC Alpha-Arbutin White Mask and a facial sponge from The Konjac Sponge Co).

The boxes are a great way to discover new products or even gather mini samples of your favourites, but they would of course also make fantastic presents.

I'd highly recommend checking out the brand for yourself and I will definitely be ordering from them again!

Are you a fan of Latest in Beauty? I'd love to know what products you'd pick up!


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4.15.2017

Pixi by Petra #PixiPretties Collection.


Ah, Pixi, the brand that never fails to impress. Whether it's their cult Glow Tonic (read my review here!) or their Book of Beauty Palettes, they seriously kill it when it comes to beauty launches. 

A little while back I was greeted with one rather sizeable package, and was thrilled when I realised it was from one of my all time favourites. #PixiPretties, housed in this rather impressive box, is a collaboration with four well known industry influencers; Caroline Hirons, Aspyn Novard, Judy Travis and Maryam Maquillage.


With a little help from the Pixi team, the four were asked to create their 'dream product/s', and boy oh boy, they delivered. This 10 piece collection is certainly dreamy.


Everyone loves a good palette, and Judy whipped up not one, but two, for both the eyes and the lips. Made up of twelve shades, the eyeshadow palette is a good'n for all skin tones and can be used to create looks come day or night. 

With a mix of matte and shimmery neutrals, the texture is everything one could want; buttery soft with a strong pigment. 

Again, with twelve to choose from, the lip palette boasts everything from flattering nudes to bold reds. I haven't actually owned a lip palette since my youth, but the convenience of having so many beautiful shades in one place I'm making me really asking myself why.

Shop both palettes, here.


When it comes to Aspyn's collection, it's all about that glowy, natural look. I love me a good highlighter, so I was very happy to see two in the #PixiPretties box. The blush is also a treat to use, and isn't that dissimilar in tone to the famed, Nars Orgasm. Finally, to bring the look together, Aspyn included a clear brow tamer and lower lash mascara. I'm forever getting black smudges below my eyes so this is definitely something I'm happy to have in my stash. 

You can shop Aspyn's range, here.


A gal can never have too many brushes, right? Right. Maryam has designed the brush of dreams for all your highlight and contour needs, which sits nicely alongside her two sculpting palettes. Like Judy's creations, the shade range is great for all skin tones, and with us heading in the right direction of Summer, they're something I'm going to be reaching for on a very regular basis.

Snap up the products, here.


Finally, we have the release from the skincare guru that is Carolyn Hirons.

I'm 99% certain you'll be familiar with Carolyn, but if not, just think of her as the go-to woman when it comes to knowing the 411 of skin.

Her double cleanse was probably the product I most excited about trying. I'm actually pretty good at sticking to the whole regime already, but with the initial step being micellar water, it's not all that hydrating for my dry complexion. This, however, is a cocktail of a solid oil and a cream in one magical pot, and is basically the answer to all skincare junkies' prayers. Collectively designed to get rid of every single scrap of makeup, not even waterproof mascara stands a chance with this bad boy.

But don't just take my word for it, snap up your tub of double cleanse, here.


So there we have it, yet another incredible launch from Pixi by Petra. Which products have caught your eye? I'd love to know any recommendations you have from the brand!

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2.21.2017

Things I'm Going To Do More Of.

2017 life goals blogger

If you read my post on kicking January in the bum, you'll know I've added a couple of steps into my everyday life in a bid to better myself. They've definitely had a positive impact on my mindset, but I've since had a little more time to contemplate and there's still one or two areas I'm keen to do more of...


Take more time out
Last week I opted to book in a few days holiday to give myself a long weekend, and I genuinely can't begin to describe how nice it was. Going to work is never a chore, I thoroughly enjoy my 8:30-5 and I'm lucky enough to say I work alongside an amazing team, but being able to take a little bit of time out, without commuting, or the concern of needing to be anywhere was wonderful. Catching up on sleep, catching up with friends and naturally, a distinct lack of alarms. 

I was also able to spend some quality time with my boyfriend Matt, who, call me biased, but in my humble opinion is pretty much the greatest human you could ever meet. Click here to check out my previous post to see what we got up to when we visited High Force Waterfall! *I also have a few more posts yet to come sharing our ventures from our time off!*

From having just a few days off, I feel so much more refreshed, positive and motivated. Funny how it works, really, but I feel like I'm ready to get back into the swing of things.


Create a blog plan/post more regularly
On the theme of motivation, yus, I've said it a million and one times previously, but I'm set on making a proper blogging plan to keep my little space on the interweb up to scratch. I used to blog pretty much every other day, back in the day, but working full time I can find it a little difficult to keep things regular. After browsing a few different sites for stationary and organisation goodness (how amazing is Kikki.K though?), I'm hoping having a plan in place will work its magic.

Matt also has a blog, and seeing him do his thing, and doing it oh-so well is something I find really encouraging. Having a blogging buddy who shares similar interests seems to make it all the more fun.


Be more positive & cut out unnecessary worrying
I'm a colossal worrier. I can find myself worrying about the smallest of things. But the thing is, 99% of the said things occupying my mind in a negative way, never even come about, which realistically, is a complete and utter waste of time and energy.

I read something recently on Free People and it really put mindset into perspective; ''Many times, people’s negativity comes from one small thought or occurrence and it takes them into a deep, winding spiral. Imagine your mind is like the ocean: the deeper you get into the negative thinking patterns, the darker it gets.''. The FP blog is filled with plenty more wisdom like the above, but that particular paragraph really made me stop and think.

The saying, ''worrying is stupid. It's like walking around with an umbrella waiting for it to rain.'' is also another good'n to consider.

I think part of thinking more positively is not allowing yourself to take things for granted. I'm incredibly fortunate in life. I have my health, I'm surrounded by people that love and support me and I live in a safe (and beautiful) area.

If my Mum ever recalls an occasion from when I was a child, or looks at old photos, she always talks about how I always always had a smile on my face. I was the giddy one (with too much energy for my own good). I think I can say I'm still the same person now, only on a toned down level and with a whole lot less energy, but unless something really major occurs, I want to try and start thinking with the same upbeat mentality as I did back then. Sounds crazy, as 'adulting', but in the sense that, if it isn't going to be on my mind or affect me in a years time, it doesn't deserve more than a few minutes thought (y'know, just to give myself a lil bit of time to be a moody so and so). Instead I want to swap that time to thinking more positive thoughts.


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''No one ever injured their eyesight by looking on the bright side''

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Roadtrip
One thing I'm itching to do more of in the coming months, is explore. It doesn't have to be far away, or in a foreign land, just visiting new places brings me all kinds of joy. As you'll see in my next few posts (and over on Instagram), I definitely tried to make the most of my days off, with me and Matt venturing to a fair few different locations. We're set to head to Edinburgh and the Lakes later in the year and I have to say, the excitement is real!


Is there anything you're wanting to do more of? I'd love to know your thoughts and tips on the likes of mindfulness and organisation!


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2.20.2017

Taking 5 (Days Holiday).


I know I'm definitely not alone in thinking how incredibly important it is to sometimes take a step back from everyday life and relax. With Christmas seeming like a distant memory (8 weeks ago, in fact; how even?) last week I decided to book in a few days holiday at work and have a nice long weekend.

Matt also had the same grand idea, and with him sharing a love of the outdoors, we decided to spend a few days exploring. 


I'm going to refrain from uploading the entire catalogue of images I collated over the weekend (there's a fair few!) so I'll stick to mentioning the first destination we headed to, High Force

Just beyond the gorgeous town that is Barnard Castle, High Force waterfall is set in the most stunning location. I'll let the pictures do the talkin', but think trees, fields and all that good country stuff. 

I'd visited the waterfall once before, as a child, so frankly my memories of the place were pretty non-existent, but I'm so pleased I made the journey back as it is definitely a major treat for the eyes. It genuinely blows my mind that it's free (minus parking) to view this kind of thing, and even more so the fact that it's fairly local.


A little while back you were actually able to reach the top of the fall, however it's since been gated off to the public. Despite this, the views are still incredible! With steps down to the base, you can get pretty close up, which I would highly recommend doing. If you're keen, it might be worth checking the opening days and times, as access isn't given out of hours. 

Also, quick sidenote: no, we weren't rocking matching hoodies... Matt very kindly had an outfit change and lent me his hooded attire when things got a little chilly. 


Post-4pm and it was still light outside? Is this signs of Spring? I sure hope so.


As I mentioned, High Force is within arms reach of Barnard Castle, so we also had a brief browse of the town on our venture out. Though the castle itself was closed, you can still get a pretty good view externally which we definitely made the most of. But not before I got Matt to strike a pose or two, naturally. 


I would 100% recommend a visit to the area should you ever get the chance. There are a couple of great walks surrounding High Force which I am itching to do, especially now we're seeing a little more of the sunshine lately.

Not that I'm biased, but you should also head over to Matt's blog to read up on his thoughts on the day! You could say he's a bit of a whizz with the camera.


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