Saturday, 8 October 2016

Jewellery & Me...

I’m a huge jewellery fan, and my fingers are often filled with rings and my ears adorned with jeweled studs. I love looking at others jewellery and often comment on the rings they wear or necklaces layered with an outfit. Whether it’s a simple chain with a small tag or sparkling diamond or more bohemian looking pieces the jewellery you wear gives away a lot about your personality and style.
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I don’t tend to change my jewellery to match an outfit when it comes to my watch and rings, but I will mix up the style of necklace based on what I’m wearing. I sometimes wear glasses rather than my contacts and find big statement necklaces can make me feel a bit too bulky. This is when I’d go for a thin chain or delicate long pendant. Over the years I’ve invested in some more expensive jewellery and have been given some beautiful rings for special birthdays and passed some family pieces that I will cherish.
If I ever get married, I like to think my fiance will pick out something suited to my style and personality. I want something a little different from the standard square cut, on a white gold band. I always thought I’d wear something that was antique and perhaps held my birthstone Topaz or another precious gem. Don’t get me wrong though, I LOVE looking at beautiful sparkling diamonds and have spent ages perusing the websites of jewelers like Ascot Diamonds. The classic cuts, and simple designs are beautiful and I suppose a purchase in the shop would mean a trip to New York so that’s fine by me! It’s nice to par things down and wear some delicate items that are simple and classy. For a very special occasion I would love to wear some very fine diamond rings and necklaces where it’s almost like the gems are floating and the overall look is beautifully classic.
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I do own a lot of costume jewellery and wear on certain occasions where I want to add a little drama to an all black outfit. They always grab attention and I was picking up a coffee the other morning and the guy serving me commented on my jewellery.
I have a lot of piercings, with five in one ear, three in the other and my nose pierced. Keeping things simple I tend to wear small studs in my ears and a stud, or sometimes small loop in my nose. I think a lot has changed with how people are perceived with piercings with even Liberty having a Maria Tash studio in store. It seems to be more noticeable if someone only has one hole in their ears these days!

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Travel: Adventures in Italy

Deciding to take total advantage of Tom's friend Tor living out in Italy, we packed a suitcase and headed to Pistoia, in Tuscany. Flying into Pisa we picked up our hire car (very easily organised and good value from Auto Europe) and our adventure began.
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We managed to cover a lot in the eight days we were there, and whilst the weather wasn't great, there is SO much to see and do. Using the fantastic transport services over in Italy, we visited Rome, Florence, Siena, San Gimignano, Pisa, Lucca, Vatican City and Montecantini Alto - Phew! No wonder we both came home tired. Our favourite places were San Gimignano and Siena. Tuscany for me is beautiful, and I much prefer it to the hustle and bustle of the busier towns and cities. The food was fantastic, and we had some gorgeous meals. The Boar Ragu and Truffle Pasta at Peruca (in San Gimignano) was AMAZING. A pizza, some antipasti and lots of red wine (always just get the house - it's great quality and good value) in Piazza del Campo (Siena) in the evening was perfect, a really lovely atmosphere. Rome, whilst breathtakingly beautiful with historic monuments and buildings at every corner, was a bit of a disappoint for me. It was amazing to see the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain and Pantheon, but the crowds distracted from the beauty. Same goes for the Leaning Tower of Pisa, such a great landmark to see, but the 'leaners' ruined it for me a bit. Also, people really need to follow rules, it's says keep off the grass, however SO many were on it. Totally understand that this is because they are hugely popular tourist attractions. However, there are some fantastic things to see that are a little calmer. The Ponte Sospeso is a walkway across the River Lima, 227 metres long, and 36 metres high. Crossing this, Tom decided the best time to tell me he suffers vertigo! Really worth seeing and free. We were lucky to have local guides in Tor and Adriano, as we got to see a very Tuscan way of life which was lovely - and tasty.
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Going to Italy? Definitely make use of the trains and metro where possible. The rumours are true, in cities they drive like loons. The bigger motorways are easy to use, make sure you have some sort of data pass on your phone to use it's map function - saves a lot of hassle. Try and pick up a few phrases and words to help get you by. Most of the time English will be spoken, but it's lovely to be able to immerse yourself into Italian life, and most of the time they really appreciate the effort. Oh and my biggest tip for visiting Italy - eat as much gelato as you can manage. Yum.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Review: envy professional style hero

You know when you get a blow dry in a salon, and leave with your hair bouncing and feeling amazing? I want that all the time! Granted most times I'm much too lazy to bother with giving myself a blow dry and generally just roughly blow dry, then style further if I want to. The Envy Professional Style Hero (£14.95 for 150ml) is a super lightweight serum type product that you use on damp hair before blow drying, or leaving to dry naturally that promises to give you the salon 'wow' factor.
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It helps calm flyaways, and leave hair with shine and much more manageability. I found using this alongside texturising products helped to avoid a dried out, frizzy finish. It also helped enhance my colour thanks to the Keratin,Silk and Wheat protein infused formula conditioning my hair. I chose to ignore the directions on the back of the bottle, as thought 5-10 pumps was far too much product for my mid length hair. I went with three which was plenty and used a comb to make sure the Style Hero was evenly applied to my hair. I think you could even add this to your volumising mousse to give some super styling to your hair.
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The Style Hero has got a great fruity scent to it, and this stays with the hair throughout the day. Because of the lightweight formula I found with a little blast of dry shampoo, I could go three days without washing and the casual beachy style waves I tend to wear still looked great, and the ends looked conditioned - something I always struggle with. I'd definitely recommend to those who want a professional result, without the effort. Just make sure you tailor to your own hair needs, a little trial and error may be required, but once you've got it the Envy Professional Style Hero* will certainly become a staple in your styling routine.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Reasons to be Cheerful #7

Getting healthier. I'd really let my fitness slide due to long working hours and a love of a blanket nap. No more! I've joined my local Pure Gym - which is a bargain and a great way to gym if you are busy, and enjoy classes as much as being left alone to get on with your fitness plan. I have loved getting back to running on the treadmill, weights and spin classes. Okay, the last one, not so much - why do the seats hurt so bloody much!
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Shopping. Especially when it's online. I've been using Octer, who make it so easy to shops LOADS of brands. They have soooo much, and you can search through tons of brands for a particular item or choose your favourite store. I really dislike going shopping, I find being in busy shopping centres a bit of a stressful situation so this is PERFECT. I sat on my sofa, on a rainy day, and had a good old online rummage.
I picked up some amazing new boots from ASOS, along with some basic tops from Boohoo. Also got some neckchiefs to add a little interest to my outfits, and to throw round my hair if I need to. That's my shopping for the month done, I always feel a little guilty buying clothes and make up, but when most of your money goes on bills and a mortgage I think that's probably natural.
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Friends. Having moved away from my hometown when I was 18, I feel so lucky to have not only kept in touch with friends from school, but also make new very important friends. Our friend Sam is back from China this summer and I can't wait to see him. Time for BBQ's in our garden, gigs and plenty of beers and cheers I think! It can feel lonely up here with all my family back in the West Country, but thanks to Tom, and a great group of friends I feel very at home and like I have a great support network when I need them. Without being too soppy, I love the bones off of them all. Also, this photo makes me miss my longer hair and fringe...
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Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Better Baking

So, I've got better at baking. Who knew eh! After years of cakes harder than a brick, icing runnier than water and brownies that were more black than brown, by Jove I think I've got it! And it's all thanks to getting the right equipment you see.
I asked for a food mixer for my birthday last year. Whilst a Kitchen Aid was in my sights, I had to get realistic and went for a more within budget option (but still as pretty) Breville Pistachio Stand Mixer. It's a great value mixer, that comes with dough hooks, beaters and a handy little recipe book.
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My tips for keeping it simple. Start small - practice your basic mixes and for gods sake get some scales. I was trying to use cups and things, and it just doesn't work. Baking is science. Cooking you can lob in anything and balance it out, baking, no no no. Too much flour, knackered, forget the baking powder, trouble brewing. Don't try and substitute ingredients, I made that mistake with using butter spread rather than proper butter. Shortbread slid off the baking tray into the bin. Bake things you'd like to eat and give them a go. I don't like ginger in baked goods, so why would I cook with it? (love it in savoury, just not in biscuits and cakes) I prefer savoury so breads and buns have been my love. Google recipes or look to some fab blogs for inspiration. My favourites are Rachel Khoo, The Mother Cooker and Jamie Oliver and I always pick up Tesco magazine as the recipes in there are easy to follow and turn out pretty well.  photo IMG_7550_zpspz6c7hnx.jpg  photo IMG_7111_zpsw8nnb4gs.jpg

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Review: OSMO Extreme Volume Mega Styling Foam

I'm always on the hunt to find a styling product that will boost volume and give my hair a bit more bounce. OSMO have recently released a styling foam that promises mega volume and textured hold, so is it any good. In a word, yes.

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It's a lightweight foam, not to be confused with a mousse. This would be great for those with finer hair who want to add some oomph. My mid length lob can sometimes look a little flat and with commuting it can take a battering. By the time I get to work and give it the post walk-from-the-station brush I can be back to boring and lacklustre. This stuff lends a helping hand to maintain lighter hair that can be scruffed up to give a textured finish. You simply pop some product into hair, concentrating on the roots and then blow dry in sections. The blowdrying in sections is pretty important, It helps keep hair from becoming - the only way to describe it - a claggy clump. 

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It's got a fresh fruity fragrance and is great for those who suffer with frizz. Containing Soybean oil and Rice Protein, it helps hair feel thicker and fuller. Combined with heated rollers or even velcro rollers would definitely set and boost your style, a couple of pumps of the foam on mid length hair is enough once combed through. 
The OSMO Extreme Volume Mega Styling Foam (which contains UV filters and thermal protectors) is definitely a product I'd use when styling my hair and clients, and you can pick it up online from Amazon (prices vary from £6-£8 for 245ml)