Thursday, 30 June 2016

ASOS Wishlist

ASOS is always dangerous territory for me. I find I go on to have a harmless browse and before I know it I've made a massive order of things I didn't even realise I was looking for, it's just so hard to look without throwing 20 things into my basket!
Lately I've been having a huge clear out, I've found dresses that I've had for nearly a decade lurking in the back of my wardrobe and as much as they're still pretty, sometimes you just have to draw the line and get rid. Despite this sudden urge for a minimalist life, I've been really hankering to introduce 2 new additions to my wardrobe - dungarees and culottes.
I've always had a deep seated hatred of dungarees, so I'm not sure where this new obsession has come from, but I'm absolutely loving the look of plain black skinny ones worn with heels and a leather jacket - so simple yet cool and definitely my favourite kind of 'not-too-overdone' style. I've been looking on ASOS and found a couple of pairs I love, they're just so versatile, looking equally as effortless worn dressed down with trainers and a casual t-shirt underneath. My favourites are the third along from Liquor & Poker, hence why I've linked the front and back view.
Culottes are another item I never imagined myself wanting, but I think they look incredibly stylish, and can make a real statement; especially worn with heels. I think I want them in black (can never go wrong with monochrome) but I'm also in love with the pale grey linen ones I've linked to for the summer. Worn for the office, or cocktails, they look stunning.

Are you a fan of dungarees or culottes?

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Skeletons In My Closet

Image taken from Pinterest
Recently I started on a task that I've been putting off and dreading for a long time.
Cleaning out my closet.
It was long overdue, as I searched through the mass of hangers and mishmashed colours, I saw forgotten fabrics hanging in the gloom of the back of the wardrobe. Sorting through them was a long process and with 70% of them now gone and packed in bags ready for the charity shop, I felt calmer, lighter, refreshed.
But there was also a feeling I wasn't expecting: bittersweet.

These clothes, now discarded, have been on a journey with me. They've been there with me through the good and the bad. 
Just lightly touching the hem of a purple lace dress can transport me back to a candlelit dinner in Prague, the lights from the Charles Bridge shining softly through the window, mirrored by the glow of the candle in the centre of the table, the clinking of wine glasses. 
A green dress, now ill-fitting, evokes memories of laughter, cheesy music and dancefloor lights, shots of a green alcohol in my hand not dissimilar to the shade of the dress, teamed with heels that make my feet ache, that will soon be dangling from my hand as I walk barefoot home, greasy chips in my other hand, the sound of the music still ringing in my ears and the late night breeze making my hair flutter.
The grief as I touch a black outfit, one I wore on a night originally filled with promise but swiftly extinguished when I received news that my Grandmother had passed away, the same shade I'd wear two weeks later to say goodbye to her.
The heartbreak of shattered relationships, the celebrations of weddings, graduations, parties, the carefree nights out with friends, the places travelled, the thrilling anticipation of new love - all these memories cling to these clothes, experiences I've had while wearing them, experiences ingrained into the fabric.

Packing them away signifies the end of an era, a time of my life that will never be back again. Times that cannot be repeated, but will live on through memories. 
And now, light floods through the wardrobe, reflecting off the half-empty shiny silver railing, that's waiting to be filled with clothes that will experience new memories, a new chapter.


Friday, 24 June 2016

Saracens Head Hotel, Snowdonia

It feels like a while since I've posted a hotel review, but last week B and I managed to squeeze in a beautiful two night stay to recharge our batteries after a busy few weeks.
 We headed to the Saracens Head in a little village called Beddgelert, in the heart of Snowdonia. You may be thinking "but isn't that where they're from anyway?" and it's true, it is right on our doorstep! But the aim of our trip was to have some quality time together, relax and completely unwind (limited Wifi was a plus) and do some walking in the countryside, and we definitely ticked all of those boxes.

We packed the car up on Sunday afternoon and drove the 40 minute scenic journey through the mountains, arriving just after lunch. Our room wasn't quite ready and the weather was torrential, so we relaxed in the bar with a drink (I had the cocktail of the day - Gelert's Gold).

Despite the awful weather, we decided to go out and explore the pretty little village of Beddgelert (which means Gelert's Grave in Welsh) We took Daisy with us, as the hotel advertise themselves as being pet friendly. To be honest, pet friendly is an understatement as they treat dogs like guests, Daisy got plenty of fuss, treats, and even sausages for breakfast so it's safe to say we had one happy puppy on our hands!

Back at the hotel, we checked into our room and were very pleasantly surprised. We stayed in a Superior Dog Friendly Room, which was beautifully decorated in a cosy, country-chic style. The rooms have recently been refurbished to a high standard, and ours was really spacious with an enormous bed, comfortable chair (right by the window, perfect for relaxing with a book) and a modern bathroom. Naturally I took full advantage of the bath and enjoyed soaks both nights!

As part of the deal we had, dinner was included so we headed down to the bar where we'd booked a table, and looked through the extensive menu of home-cooked, traditional pub grub. There's also a wide selection of ales on tap so it feels like the perfect country getaway. Food-wise I had olives to start and the fish pie, and B had nachos (which he said were the best he'd ever had, and he's had a lot of nachos in his time...) and the topside of beef. Both meals were lovely and fresh, I was just sad I couldn't fit a pudding in!

The next morning, after a perfects nights sleep, we headed down to breakfast; both the eggs royale and full welsh breakfast were delicious, and Daisy certainly enjoyed her sausages!
We headed out for a days walking (I'll be writing a more detailed post about our weekend soon) and the hotel is perfectly situated to all the walking paths around Snowdonia. When we got back later that day we found a doggy treat had been added to our tea tray for Daisy, which was a lovely little touch, and one of the features that made this hotel such a hidden gem.

Pooped puppy
We both really enjoyed our stay, and have already been looking for deals so we can return asap! It was also a really lovely first holiday for Daisy, and if she could write a glowing review I know she would!
The Saracens Head is a cosy, welcoming and friendly pub and one which I would highly recommend if you're looking for a quiet, relaxed weekend away and a central base for exploring Snowdonia.

Would you like to stay at this hotel?


Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Kikki K Compendium

I've always been a big fan of stationary, when I was younger I remember there being no feeling like the excitement of going to choose my new pencil case and school bag for the beginning of term, and the night before laying them all out neatly, with my pens and pencils tidily inside.
As an adult I'm not quite so obsessed, but I still love stationary and I'm forever picking up new notebooks (I love starting a fresh new notebook) so of course Kikki K is a huge temptation for me constantly. For work I mostly spend my time going from meeting to meeting, and bundling my pens, notebooks, paperwork and phone into a messy pile as I jump into the car; so I decided I definitely needed a new planner in my life to keep everything together.

This textured leather compendium proved to be exactly what I was looking for; it's A5 sized so there's plenty of room for all my work odds and ends, and the lovely blush pink colour is just a dream. I love the pretty notebook inside, and the gold touches finish it off perfectly. 
As with everything else from Kikki K, it arrived packaged beautifully and I'm already excited to sort all my work pieces out and start using it.

Are you a stationary fan?

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Books to Change Mindset

It's been ages since I've done a book post, and I'm always eager to hear any recommendations for good reads. While I'll forever be a fan of crime/psychological books (really I think I need some escapism from what I deal with in work every day!) lately I've been getting really into books that make me think, and help adjust my mindset.
These books have done just that, they've given me some food for thought and helped me adopt some tactics to help with positive thinking:

This book is probably not something I'd have picked up in the past as the premise wouldn't have interested me at all, but as I've really got into de-cluttering and reducing my possessions over the last few months it struck a chord. Marie Kondo is a Japanese organisational consultant who swears by her method of completely de-cluttering by getting rid of anything that doesn't 'spark joy' when you touch it, thus helping you adopt a positive and calm mindset. While aspects of the book are a little bit too out-there for me, it's certainly quirky and I've put a few of Marie's techniques in to place already which has made a huge difference. 

I came across this book through a couple of other bloggers, at a time when I was feeling particularly lost. The theory behind this book is so interesting, as Danielle Laporte feels that in order to pinpoint our true desires in life, we have to search for how we want to feel, rather than what we think we want. The book is in two parts, which help you first identify what makes you feel happy, and then helps you to work on achieving your goals based on those feelings. I found it particularly interesting as I'm guilty of thinking that there are certain life goals I should be chasing, instead of focusing on how I want to feel, which has led me to seeking entirely different things. 

I went to the cinema to see the film several years ago, before I ever read the book. While I enjoyed it, it seemed a little idealistic and didn't leave me feeling inspired to go after what I want. For my birthday last year, my bestie bought me this book and encouraged me to read it, to try and help me get out of a slump of low mood I was going through at the time. I have to say, the book is a million times more powerful than the film, and even though I still don't feel brave enough to do what Liz did and pack up my life to 'find myself' through travelling solo in Italy, India and Indonesia - it made me feel that I can make small changes to my life to empower myself, and left me feeling a lot more positive.

Another birthday present from my bestie (thanks Jen) this book is much simpler, but really handy to have around when you're in need of some quick inspiration. You could either read a quote a day for every day of the year, or read them all in one go like I did. I highlighted my favourites, and refer back to them whenever I want some motivation. I'm a huge fan of motivational quotes anyway, so it's great to have plenty at my fingertips.

Have you read any of these books?
If you have any recommendations I'd love to hear about them!


Thursday, 16 June 2016

Latest Body Shop Goodies

I'm slightly obsessed with The Body Shop at the moment. 
I've bought loads lately, and it's even overtaken Lush for me for the time being (come Autumn I'll be back, can't resist those bath bombs for long!)

While browsing in-store with a friend the other week, we got given scratch cards with money off. So I decided to take full advantage and get a few bits I'd been eyeing up. Sadly the Spa of the World range is excluded from all promotions (boo hiss) so as there was 3 items for £20, I killed 2 birds with one stone and used both offers (I know, I know - I'm out of control)

Here's what I picked up:
I initially picked this up thinking it was to be used in the shower, then I realised it's actually a body lotion. I love the body butters but they take ages to soak in so this is a lovely light and frothy alternative. Plus Pink Grapefruit is one of my favourites from The Body Shop, the smell is just amazing.

Yes, I picked up two body sorbets. But I also love the smell of Moringa, it's just so summery and fresh! I absolutely love the consistency of these products, they smooth onto the skin so quickly and don't leave any sticky residue. 

As someone who's obsessed with baths in general, I've been dying to try a bath tea for ages. This is one I've been eyeing up the last few times I've been in store, and the smell is instantly calming. I haven't tried it yet but it's definitely on the agenda for soon, I read a few reviews that say the tea leaves leave a mess, personally that doesn't bother me but as it's only £5 I've since picked up the matching infuser (not pictured) to avoid having to pick the leaves up and make it all feel more luxurious.

Finally, I picked up this body wash as I really like the smell of the Green Tea range. I don't really need any more shower gels, but as it was on offer it seemed rude not to! This is so fresh and refreshing, it's perfect for summer mornings.

What do you think of my picks?
Have you tried any of these products?

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Voltaire Vegan Restaurant

Here in North Wales we're blessed with a lot of really nice places to eat, but at the same time it's rare to have something totally different open. 
So when I heard that a new vegan restaurant called Voltaire had opened, I couldn't wait to get myself down there to try it. I've eaten vegan food before and found it to be a bit bland and uninspiring, but the menu at Voltaire caught my eye with tasty options like curry and burritos.

The decor is cool and quirky; clashing red and pink paint, exposed lighting and black and white photos adorning the walls. When we walked in there was low music and candles burning on the tables, which really helped to make it a cool, relaxed and welcoming environment.

The menu has plenty of choice, including mains and tapas. There's no alcohol licence so you can bring your own bottle, we didn't know this but we'd definitely do that in future. I had a latte and B had a orange & mango juice while we perused the menu.

We both opted for a starter and a main; I was tempted by the Crazy Bandito platter but the waitress advised me that it's pretty big if you're also having a starter. I'm not usually one to be deterred by too much food but I'm glad I heeded her advice as the portions were big and the food really filling.
I had the creamy mushrooms with rustic bread which was out of this world delicious, and B had the quesadilla which he loved. For our mains I had the 9 bean chilli and B the platter (the waitress was right, it WAS huge, and he felt like he might explode by the end so god knows how I'd have fared!) The food was amazing, really tasty and packed full of flavour. If I had it again I'd probably opt for no tortilla bowl as I found it slightly too heavy for me, but it was still really enjoyable.

I really wanted a pudding but couldn't fit one in, so that'll have to go on the list for next time!
I'd definitely recommend Voltaire, and in fact have been back a few times since for lunch (jacket potato) or just a drink.
It's a really quirky, cool restaurant and I think I'm going to end up being a regular!

Do you like vegan food?

Friday, 10 June 2016

My 3 Favourite Primers

Primers are one of those funny beauty products I always think, you don't realise what you're missing until you've tried them. For years I didn't see the point of using a primer, apart from occasionally dabbing a bit of 'That Gal' from Benefit on. These days however, my make up never looks quite right to me unless I have some on underneath my foundation.
I seem to have a few in my collection, so here's my thoughts on them:

This is the newest addition and has popped up in several blog posts since I bought it. I really like the glow this gives my skin, there's definitely a bit of a shimmer about it which helps to brighten my complexion, but it's not overly shiny. A little goes a long way and I really like the consistency of this.

I got this little gem in one of my Glossyboxes, and I've used it loads (hence the slightly grubby looking tube!) This is a lovely creamy primer that also looks nice on its own without foundation. I often mix it in with my foundation to lighten it up, and then apply all over. It gives a really lovely smooth and illuminating finish.

Saving the best till last, this is my favourite of the 3. My love of Guerlain knows no bounds, and this primer not only looks and smells beautiful, it also really finishes my skin off, giving me a glow but no shine. It's subtle and you only need one pearl to last your whole face. I absolutely love this product, and am sometimes reluctant to use it because I'm so afraid of using it up! No logic there....

What are your favourite primers?
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