Category: Lifestyle

Valentines Day: 10 gifts under £10 [for her]

chocIt’s cropped up again, yes that day that no one really likes but EVERYONE talks about… Valentines Day!

Couples hate it because its forced romance and it means forking out for a gift, and single people loath it because it reminds them the only love of their life waiting at home for them is their Netflix account.

HOWEVER I have some good news for you. I have created a guide of 10 fantastic gifts under £10 that are are awesome and also won’t break the bank either. So guys, either treat your lady, or women get sending links to your date, mate or even just buy it for yourself (you deserve it!).

These great items start with the yummy Hotel Chocolat Salted Caramel chocolates (top right) that are guaranteed to have anyone drooling and are a bargain at just £3.75.

You can check out the rest of my V-day picks below…

Happy shopping & have a happy love day on Sunday please, whatever your relationship status!

Sam x

Vday collage

  1. Red Contrast Trim Lace Brazilian Briefs, New Look, £3.99 
  2. Pink Polaroid Photo Frame, New Look, £4.99
  3. Little Book Of Chat Up Lines Book, ASOS, £5.99 
  4. Valentines Glitter A5 Notebook, Paperchase, £7 
  5. Brushed Tartan Scarf, Boohoo, £4
  6. Happy Jackson Big Love Mug, Debenhams, £8
  7. Nails in Bittersweet, Topshop, £5
  8. Gold Arrow Ring, Urban Outfitters, £6
  9. Grow Your Own Birthflower, NotOnTheHighStreet.com, £7.50 

Flamingo Candles launches new pastel collection

lavender-_-white-teaUK firm Flamingo Candles has launched its new pastel range.

The firm combines natural soy wax with luxury scents. The new range features five different pastel shades to choose from; Rose Velvet & Precious Oud, Lotus Blossom & Water Lily, Tuberose & Orange Leaves, Lavender & White Tea, Lemongrass & Ginger.

Each candle gives a burn time of 60-70 hours and is priced at £22 each. However, customers can pay an extra £6 for engraving on the lid.

Check out the pastel range on the Flamingo Candle website here.

Event: Wimbledon Art Studios Open Access Free Show

Open studioSo, still being quite new to London (I moved here properly in January), I still don’t think I have seen very much of the city yet.

I mean, once you’ve done a full week and had a few bevvies on a weekend, it is easy to just stay in bed and watch Netflix to recuperate, especially in those horrid, rainy winter months.

However, now that the sunshine has actually started to come out, I have decided that I really want to make the most of my weekend and see and explore all that London has to offer!

Now, I know what you’re thinking ‘It’s too expensive to do loads in London every weekend’, and it can be. However, it can also be very, very reasonable when you start searching out the whole host of free events that are going on in the city.

One such event was the Wimbledon Art Studios Open Access Show that took place at the weekend (Thurs 14- Sun 17 May).

This free show allows visitors to come and view the art of all those based at the studios, as well as buy the artwork commission-free. There is also fashion shows, food, a bar and a tearoom on hand to keep you fed, amused and hydrated whilst you make your way around all the different art on offer.

As I said above, the event was open from Thursday, but I decided to take a little stroll down to the studios on Sunday for the afternoon. As soon as I walked in my eyes were treated to an array of amazing works full of colour, texture and interesting concepts.

I’m the type of person that always needs to be stimulated in some way, and I definitely wasn’t disappointed with the amazing paintings, photography, jewellery , clothes and accessories on offer.

peter vaillantThe first thing I saw when I walked in was Peter Valliant‘s breathtakingly colourful acrylic paintings. His inspiration behind the work is the ‘dramatic essence of light captured from the last hues of colour from the day’, which you can definitely tell from his pieces.

Next I came across Atlas & I, who specialises in making personalised products all printed on vintage maps of your choice. This brand really grabbed my attention, as my sister Kerri loves maps, so I wanted to get lots of photos just to show her! Sophie Kirkpatrick, who has been running the brand since 2011, creates a whole host of products, including leather stationery and fashion accessories, to wall art and greetings cards, all made to order, printed with a vintage map, location of your choice, here in the UK.

Another highlight for me was Raj Burnett’s adorable jewlellery line. Raj has been working on the range for the last four years and creates all her pieces by hand – hoping to create a unique product that her customer can treasure. Again, her tea range particularly caught my eye as my friend Laura loves tea-inspired accessories, so it reminded me of her and how much she would like them! She also has a ‘Laser Garden’ range too, inspired by nature and a semi-precious line on its way.

However, I do have to say that my favourite artist that I discovered at the event was Gavin Mitchell. On display at the show gavin mitchellwas his ‘East Meets West 2015’ artwork that I instantly fell in love with.

Describing the range, Mr Mitchell says: ” The ongoing collection of work using early 20th century Japanese postcards depicting the daily routine of a Geisha. Disrupting the inherent tranquility and ethereality by juxtaposing Western iconic imagery and exposing the implied seductiveness behind these culture portrayals.”

I have also looked at Gavin’s other art collection and they are just as inspiring – I would definitely recommend you having a look at his website.

Of course, there were many other great artists on display, however I don’t want to bore you by listing my view of every single one of them here.

You can check out all of the artists at the studios here though and definitely keep an eye of for the next free event coming in November.

For now, check out the Wimbledon Arts Studios website, Twitter or Facebook page if you’re after more info and check out some more pictures of the event below…

Sam x

Lifestyle: The Charlatans ‘Brits Week’ Gig @ The Brooklyn Bowl

brooklyn bowlI’m not that used to going to a gig where I don’t know the band really well, however when my friend Bex invited me down to go and see The Charlatans at Brooklyn Bowl at the O2, I though, why not?!

Seeing as the band formed in the late 80s, when I wasn’t even born, I wasn’t familiar with their music. The day of the gig, I looked them up on Spotify to see if I recognised a few songs, but I didn’t even know one!

This left me a little apprehensive before the gig. However, there was really no need for me to worry. Despite not knowing one song, I instantly started enjoyed myself the second the band came on stage.

Considering the band have been around some time, it wasn’t a surprise that most of the audience were middle-aged, and the vast majority of those were men. However, this wasn’t intimidating. In fact, it was kind of nice to go to a gig where everyone was a bit more sensible, and they definitely gave you more breathing space than your usual gig-goer does.

One guy did come up to me and my friend however and commented that we looked ‘far too young’ to know the band, but he did in in good jest and was said ‘fair play’ to us as he high-fived us, which was quite funny.

Anyway, back to the actual gig… as I was saying, the band were really fun to watch. Frontman Tim Burgess had a good energy about him, and I loved his long blonde crazy hair, we he liked to swing around. He had a good repore with the fans too telling them as he came on stage ‘It’s been a while, hasn’t it?!’.

The venue was also great too. If you hadn’t guessed already by the name, Brooklyn Bowl is used for bowling in the day, however hosts a number of events in the evening. The fact that it only holds a few hundred people meant that the gig felt really intimate, as you are quite close to the band, even if you are a fair way back.

The gig was held as part of ‘BRITS Week’ – celebrating British music in the lead up to the BRIT Awards 2015, which is this Wednesday coming (February 25). To mark the occasion, there was a massive BRIT Award statue by the stage, as well as Brit Award signs throughout the venue, which added a nice touch and a good Instagram opportunity!

All in all, it was definitely a fun night and I would 100% go back to The Brooklyn Bowl to see many more bands in the future.

Check out some pictures of my night below…

charlatans       selfie

Left: The band on stage. Right, me and Bex having a selfie outside the venue.

bex   me

Both of us having a little pose inside.

brits         another tube pic

Left: Bex with the BRIT statue. Right: Capturing our tube journey home. 

Lifestyle: I’ve moved to London!

tooting broadwaySo if you haven’t seen from my Twitter and Instagram profiles yet, I have now made the big move up to London!

This is so exciting for me as I have literally dreamed about living and working as a journalist in the city since I was about 15 or 16.

As you can probably guess, it’s been so busy and hectic getting myself settled in my new flat and getting everything sorted. Plus I’ve been out lots mingling with my new housemates and my friends down here, which hasn’t really left much time for blogging!

However, I feel like I’ve finally getting settled and back into a sort of routine (as much as you can do in this exciting city anyway), so you can expect lots more posts coming up!

In the meantime, I’ve included some photos below of all the things I’ve been getting up to so far…

You can probably tell I’ve had the best time and I’m looking forward to having much more fun in the big city!

Sam x

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My new flat… and yes that is our very own private bar on the right! 

 IMG_8872   IMG_8892  IMG_8893

More flat pictures… this was our first roast on the right – it was so tasty!

IMG_8787     IMG_9060     IMG_9055

My new flatmates Kat & Hannah! Kat’s birthday on the left, enjoying a drink at our local & cosy wine nights in.

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A random Sunday night out in Clapham…

IMG_9103   IMG_9142   me and aimee

Partying with some of my besties 🙂

50 shades premiere    bex premiere   premiere

Getting to go to the ’50 Shades of Grey’ premiere in Leicester Square!

IMG_8974   IMG_9001   IMG_8978

My sister Kerri coming up to visit.

V Festival 2014

256px-V_Festival_UKHi guys,

So I thought I’d write a little post about my time at this year’s V Festival!

To be honest, I never thought I’d see myself go to V, as I’m into more rockier music & usually favour Reading & Leeds. However, when I heard Justin Timberlake was on the bill, I knew I just had to go! You see I’ve loved Justin forever and really wanted to see him sing some of his new material (epecially ‘Suit and Tie’). I know he did a tour recently, but the tickets were so expensive I couldn’t really justify it to myself.

Anyway, we were a bit worried about the weather as it was a tiny bit overcast when we got to the Hylands Park site in Essex, however luckily it stayed nice all day & was only a bit chilly in the evening. We just bought a day ticket for the Saturday (Justin’s headliner spot), however looking at the line-up for the Sunday, I would have liked to have gone to both as there was people such as Paulo Nutini, Tinie Tempah, Lily Allen, Rita Ora & Rizzle Kicks who I missed out on, who always seem fun acts.

We got to the festival a little later than the opening time so didn’t get to see everyone. However, we did see some great acts such as Bastille, Example, Birdy, Ed Sheeran, Josh Record (who we got a photo with) and Justin, of course.

Also to brighten up our day we took an inflatable banana, which we named Barry, with us as a laugh. That made for some funny pictures and a great talking point as people called us the banana girls.

I would definitely say V Festival is great for younger people who like good pop music, or for first-time festival-goers as it’s not too big or scary. I can’t really say I found any great new bands at the event, however I definitely had fun.

Check out some of my snaps from the festival below…

 

banana     bastille

Left: Fooling around with Barry the Banana. Right: Bastille perform!

 

fruity     drink

My sister Kerri with our yummy (but expensive) fruity drinks.

 

josh record     fs

Watching Josh Record on the Futures Stage was one of the highlights of the day!

 

Southsea photobook

Now, Portsmouth gets a lot of flack for being the a bit rough sometimes, however it is getting a lot better with things such as the Gunwharf Ways outlet, where you can shop designer and see our very own tower, the Spinaker.

My favourite area of Portsmouth has to be Southsea however. Now, some people don’t even class it as Portsmouth as it is so different. With the beach, pier, loads of shops, restaurants and bars it’s like its own little town.

I’ve always wanted to live in London & many parts of Southsea remind me of East London with their alternative boutiques, vintage shops, cool bars and pubs & with an added beach too!

I had a day off this week, so made the most of it & had a proper day out in Southsea. Check out my photolog of the day below…


  

Left: The Parlour cake shop on Albert Road. Right: Some of the yummy cakes on offer!

  

Left: The lovely Southsea beach. Right: A retro cafe.

graffiti  

Left: Southsea street art. Right: A cute house

  

More cake at the Garage Lounge in Palmerston Road washed down with an elderflower lemonade. 

 

 

 

June Burts Bees event with Olivia Purvis

BB8I can’t believe it’s July already and I haven’t even had chance to write about this event yet! Time flies huh?!

So basically, last month, I headed up to London to go to the fantastic Burts Bees event with Olivia Purvis from well-known blog ‘What Olivia Did’. The purpose of the event was for Olivia to go through her best tips to stay fabulous throughout the festival season as well as show for the lovely Burts Bees peeps to show off some of their newest and most-loved products.

The event was held at the Burts Bees Pop-Up shop in London’s Monmouth Road. The shop has sadly gone now (it was only there until June), however look out for any similar shops in the future!

I got to the event a little flustered as my train was delayed, however I relaxed as soon as I walked in thanks to the lovely Burts Bees staff who greeted me and also because of the lovely prosecco they also handed to me!

There were lots of other bloggers there already trying out some of the products and I had a quick look around to see what some of the products were like. After that it was time for Olivia to come out and have a chat with us all.

She had some great tips for the festival season up her sleeve. These included taking a cheap phone, using disposable cameras and having some sensible mud-proof boots. She also recommended some of the Burts Bees products which were perfect to take to any festival. These included Burts Bees Lip Shimmer, which she said was nourishing yet pretty and the Burts Bees Aloe & Linden Flower After Sun Soother if you stay out in the sun a bit too long! The Burts Bees Facial Cleansing Towelettes with White Tea Extra were also a must, according to Olivia, to get off the days festival make-up.

After Olivia’s talk (and more prosecco) we were then allowed to try out more products and buy any that took our fancy. I went for the Aloe & Buttermilk Body Lotion, as well as the Almond & Milk Hand Lotion, as well as the banana version of the latter too. When buying these I was then handed a goody bag full of even more treats such as a make-up bag, two Acai Berry Lip Balms, a miniature Peppermint & Rosemary Bodywash and a miniature Honey & Grapeseed Hand Cream. It was definitely fair to say I was pleased and loaded down with goodies!

The good thing about all these products is that the ingredients are packaging are all natural as well as working great. Good work Burts Bees!

Before I went, I also got to have a quick chat with Olivia, who, to my surprise, told me that this was her first kind of event that she had done. I was really shocked considering that Olivia has been blogging for a good few years now. I told her that she should definitely do some more though and that I will definitely be attending them!

Check out some photos of the event below…

BB7    BB4

Left: The beautiful Burts Bees Pop-Up shop. Right: Some of the testers available on the night. 

BB6   BB5

Left: Two of the lovely Burts Bees ladies. Right: Olivia shows us how to get festival fab.

BB1   BB2

Above: Some of the lovely goodies I came away with!

 

Lifestyle Diary: Relaxing Hen Weekend in Southampton/Winchester

So this weekend I was lucky enough to be invited on my lovely friend Deborah‘s hen party.

Being down south, the beautiful bride-to-be kept things local, with us going on our day activities in Southampton and then getting a mini bus to Winchester, Deborah’s uni town, for the evening.

We started off the day going for a gorgeous afternoon tea at the Southampton’s Dolphin Hotel. We had the tea in the main dining hall, which was lovely and our table was gorgeous laid out with white covers and little bows on the chair.

As soon as we sat down we were asked whether we wanted tea and coffee and were then bought out a jug each of our chosen drink! Shortly after the food arrived and were weren’t disappointed. There was a whole tray of salmon, cucumber and ham and tomato sandwiches to share between four of us and a whole cake tray full of yummy treats.

I had only had a small bowl for cereal really early in the morning meaning by this time (1pm) I was really hungry. So, let’s just say I didn’t hold back in digging in. I had about five sandwiches and around eight of the cakes, which were such delights as chocolate eclairs, cream puffs, scones with cream and jam, profiteroles and chocolate and raspberry tarts. Honestly I don’t think I’ve eaten as much sugar in one sitting as I did, but it was all really nice.

The afternoon tea cost us £12 which was really reasonable for what it was. As I said, the room was beautifully decorated, there was tons of food and the hotel staff were extremely attentive. As soon as we even got halfway through our jug of tea or coffee they were asking to re-fill it. All in all I would definitely recommend the Dolphin Hotel for an event or treat if you are nearby.

After the tea, we walked just along the high street to April’s House of Beauty for some pampering. The maid of honour gave us three options to choose from (as they were all reasonally priced), these were a manicure, a pedicure and a hand wax treatment.

Now, I know what you’re think after reading that last sentence… ‘hand wax?’ It’s not like it sounds! Basically they put a wax treatment on your hands, which makes your hands super, super soft after they’ve left it on for half an hour.

I went for the manicure however and had a lovely deep burgandy colour painted on. Whilst we were having our treatments, we were all drinking prosecco that we were allowed to bring with us, so it was extremely relaxing! These three treatments are all priced at £10 each, however the salon also does many other treatments such as massages and eyebrow threading to choose from. The staff were so lovely, so again if you are local and looking for a beauty salon, I definitely recommend April’s House of Beauty.

Finally after getting back to the hotel, getting glammed up and playing a few hen games, we headed to The Gourmet Pizza Company in Winchester. The restaurant is quite quaint so it was perfect for us as it felt very private and like our own little venue for the evening. The menu was your typical Italian menu, which all the usual favourites such as dough balls, garlic bread, lasagne, pasta and pizza, of course. I opted for bollognese tagliatelle and got the biggest plate ever, I think I only could manage around half of it! The staff were really great at the restaurant, especially as we started playing a loud singing game and got some silly moustaches out, but they didn’t seem to mind.

After the lovely food and and plenty of bottles of wine we were back to the hotel to chat for a bit and to call it a night. All in all it was a lovely day and definitely one of the more sophisticated hen do’s which was nice as it was really relaxing.

Hope you’ve enjoyed the post and got some inspiration if you are planning a hen do yourself!

Sam x

P.s. You can check out a few of our snaps from the hen do below…

 

 

#WednesdayWisdom: Dalai Lama

wwSo I’ve noticed there’s a trend of #WednesdayWisdom going around on the internet & I’ve decided I want to get involved by sharing one of my favourite quotes each week.

This week I’ve chosen this little gem from the Dalai Lama (see right).

I agree with this quote totally as I think that life is all about having new adventures & seeing the world that we live in. I mean, why just stay in one place when they are so many different places to explore?!

I decided last year that I wanted to go on more European city breaks this year. I went to Berlin last month and am off to Rome this week!

However, it doesn’t have to be abroad. Why not just try a new restaurant that’s open instead of your usual go-to diner, or visit an exhibition that has just opened. This quote is all about not getting stuck in a rut and making sure you make the most of life and the experiences it offers.

I hope this post has inspired you a little! Let me know if you’ve had any great trips/experiences lately or what your favourite quote to live by is!

Sam x