Saturday, 30 January 2016

Being A Tourist In London

On Thursday my mum and I went to London to see the show Wicked and do general touristy things. I love London and although there's no place like home (Sheffield) I do love being a tourist. Taking pictures of things and getting excited over taking the tube while Londoners look at us with that evil look in their eyes that they get when tourists hold up the tube queue.

We were staying in Victoria and decided it was a good idea to walk to Buckingham Palace (which I think is quite underwhelming) and then to Harrods which was pointless as we weren't allowed in with our luggage. We then went for some food and went to watch Wicked, which was such an amazing show. I absolutely loved the whole thing and it's definitely made me want to see more shows in the future. I would highly recommend it.

 (me and my lovely mummy)

The next day we went shopping on Oxford Street which I loved, we also walked to M&M World which was a nice walk as we got to see some nice restaurants and bakeries that are away from the main road. In all honesty though, my mum and I had done so much walking the day before that we were very achy and not really in the mood for much walking. We managed a good couple of hours though and had fun.

Overall, it was such a nice trip away and made my mum and I realise we need to do it more often. We got to have some very good mummy and daughter time. We also realised it was our first proper weekend away just us two and that we need to do it more often. We went on the Megabus, which is very long but also not as bad at all as we thought it was going to be. Most of the trip there was spent sleeping and then when we were in London we drove through all of Notting Hill and nice roads so we managed to see some lovely houses and Hyde Park. You wouldn't get that view of we were on the train and so we decided we'd definitely take the Megabus again and it's a lot cheaper than the train.

Have you ever had a very touristy trip somewhere? I think being an English tourist was such a weird feeling as we were surrounded by people like us but we were so excited to be there. I can't wait to go back, but hopefully I'll wear comfier shoes next time! P.S I know there's a lot of photos of my mum, but she's a poser lol.

Til' next time! XOXO

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

My Amazon Wishlist

I don't know why I thought I'd share this with you guys, but it occurred to me that I see a lot of "What's in my eBay basket" but not a lot about Amazon. Now, I have an Amazon wishlist as long as my arm, but I thought I'd show you lot a few little things that I have in there. 75% of my wishlist is actually books, surprise surprise, but I thought I'd show you a lot of other little things I really want and am very eager to spend my pennies on.

 I'm refraining myself at the moment because I'm going to London tomorrow and so I want to have as much spending money as possible. I haven't been to London for over a year and I'm super excited to go shopping and also spend some well-needed girl time with my mum. So, look forward to some hauls and pictures and bloggy stuff about my trip coming up soon!

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simple there when yesterday it was not. The black sign painted in white letters that hang upon the gates reads:
Open at Nightfall
Closes at Dawn
As the sun disappears beyond the horizon, all over the tents small lights begin to flicker, as though the entirety of the circus is covered in particularly bright fireflies. When  the tents are all aglow, sparkling against the night sky, the sign appears.
Le Cirque des Reves
The Circus of Dreams.
Now the circus is open.
Now you may enter.

freida and isabel have been best friends their whole lives. Now, aged sixteen and in their final year at the School, they expect to be selected as companions - wives to wealthy and powerful men. The alternative - life as a concubine - is too horrible to contemplate. But as the intensity of the final year takes hold, the pressure to be perfect mounts. isabel starts to self-destruct, putting her beauty - her only asset - in peril. And then into this sealed female environment, the boys arrive, eager to choose a bride. freida must fight for her future - even if it means betraying the only friend, the only love, she has ever known...

Lydia is the favourite child of Marilyn and James Lee; a girl who inherited her mother's bright blue eyes and her father's jet-black hair. Her parents are determined that Lydia will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue - in Marilyn's case that her daughter become a doctor rather than a homemaker, in James's case that Lydia be popular at school, a girl with a busy social life and the centre of every party. But Lydia is under pressures that have nothing to do with growing up in 1970s small town Ohio. Her father is an American born of first-generation Chinese immigrants, and his ethnicity, and hers, make them conspicuous in any setting.
When Lydia's body is found in the local lake, James is consumed by guilt and sets out on a reckless path that may destroy his marriage. Marilyn, devastated and vengeful, is determined to make someone accountable, no matter what the cost. Lydia's older brother, Nathan, is convinced that local bad boy Jack is somehow involved. But it's the youngest in the family - Hannah - who observes far more than anyone realises and who may be the only one who knows what really happened.
I'll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson £3.85 (part of the 3 for £10 deal)
Jude and her twin Noah were incredibly close - until a tragedy drove them apart, and now they are barely speaking. Then Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy as well as a captivating new mentor, both of whom may just need her as much as she needs them. What the twins don't realize is that each of them has only half the story and if they can just find their way back to one another, they have a chance to remake their world.

The One That Got Away by Simon Wood £7.64 
Graduate students Zoë and Holli only mean to blow off some steam on their road trip to Las Vegas. But something goes terribly wrong on their way home, and the last time Zoë sees her, Holli is in the clutches of a sadistic killer. Zoë flees with her life, changed forever.
A year later and still tortured with guilt, Zoë latches on to a police investigation where the crime eerily resembles her abduction. Along with a zealous detective, she retraces the steps of that fateful night in the desert, hoping that her memory will return and help them find justice for Holli. Her abductor—labeled the “Tally Man” by a fascinated media—lies in wait for Zoë. For him, she is not a survivor but simply the one that got away.
I like the idea of Deliciously Ella and the lifestyle she's chosen that is clearly working for her, but her old book didn't sound like something I'd be interested in because it just sounded very constricting and had a lot of bad reviews. But this one is focusing more on meals you can make every day for your lunch and tea that isn't going to cost you a zillion pounds. This one just sounds great for healthy, nutritious meals and that's what I want to focus on in my cooking this year. 

I'm not vegan, but I am dairy free and I want to come up with more interesting ways to make tea and lunch for myself other than rice cakes and peanut butter or pasta. I need variety and colour to my meals and I've heard that this is a great cookbook. Plus, I have a couple of vegan friends and it would be really nice to be able to invite them over for tea and cook them a vegan meal that's not pasta or a salad. 

I asked for this for Christmas and my mums response was "I thought about getting it you, but I didn't see the point when you already have like 3 copies of the book" which made me want to throttle her because clearly it's different it's illustrated!!!! Sheesh mum. Illustrated means that I need it. Not want. Need. 

I've been wanting to get back into using coconut oil a lot more as I've been slacking lately and I'm generally just trying to use what's easy. I want to use it a lot more in cooking and trying to bake dairy free goodies. I think this cheap 2 pack is ideal as I can keep one in the bathroom as the "beauty" tub for hair masks, moisturiser and hair masks and also keep one in the kitchen for "cooking" stuff. 

I've heard a lot of people talking about these and I've recently seen them on a couple of blogs. They come from Asia, I'm not sure where abouts, and they're currently being sold in Sephora. But, because I'm in the lame UK, we don't have Sephora and so I'm resorting to Amazon and eBay. Saying that, though, they're noticeably cheaper for a set of 11 on Amazon than they are at Sephora where I think they're selling for like $7 a mask. I can't wait to order these and the value is amazing to say you get all 11 masks. 

I don't know whether these are a gimmick from the East to pray on us dumb Westerners, but these look so cool and I've wanted to try them out for so so long now. They're basically sheet masks but in the form of animals. This set contains all 4 in which you get a panda, a seal, a tiger and a dragon. They each have different properties and the seal one, which is a hydrating one, sounds like the one for me. These aren't as cheap as the I'm Real Masks, but I still want to try them. 

I swear every healthy recipe I see these days involves spiralising some form of vegetable and making it spaghetti. It's probably gimmicky and I'll most likely use it like twice, but I still really want to try it to make healthier alternatives especially if I want pasta but have had a carb heavy day already. Plus, this handheld one is only £12!

On my journey to being dairy-free, I have been finding it quite hard to have snacks that are both dairy-free and healthy for me. I really love the Nakd bars, but they have quite a lot of sugar in them (natural sugar) and I feel like they can sometimes be a bit too sweet and don't quite fulfill my craving of wanting to eat a huge sharing bag of Doritos to myself. I tried the Portlebay popcorn the other day and it's easily my favourite sweet & salty popcorn I've tasted! It still has that caramel sort of coat to the popcorn what makes it crunchy and that's what I love about it. Sweet & Salty will always be my favourite, but they have some other amazing flavours which unfortunately aren't dairy-free.

As mentioned, Nakd bars are an absolute fave of mine and their Cherry Bakewell tart is my favourite thing to satisfy my craving for an afternoon bar of chocolate. As I said, they are quite high in sugar just because they're made mainly from dates, but it's all natural and so I don't feel guilty for eating one. This 44 bar box is crazy good for the price and will allow me to try lots of different flavours and also have a backup if I decide I love them. 

For Christmas I got like 3 different adult colouring books and the only pencils I seem to have are crap with only like 4 different colours. This selection is great and the reviews say quite good quality so that I can colour like a pro. These are also really affordable which is great. 

Red Cherry Lashes #48 £1.47 + delivery (makes them about £3.50!)
Red Cherry Lashes will forever be my favourite eyelash brand. They're such good quality and feel like actual lashes. The #48 are good going out lashes but aren't overly fake looking so they reach your eyebrows or make you look like a drag queen. Red Cherry are also a super affordable brand and they do a huge huge range of eyelashes, whether you're looking for natural barely there ones or full going-out style lashes. I love them and can't rave about them enough. 

Engevita Nutritional Yeast £8.85 (pack of 3)
There's one thing that everyone dreads about going dairy free and it's the absence of cheese from their daily life. After being a very enthusiastic cheese eater for 20 years, it was very difficult to just completely cut it out of my life. Although I haven't tried any dairy-free cheese, I doubt that it lives up to the real stuff. One thing I've really been wanting to make it a vegan mac and cheese or try and make my own dairy-free cheese that I can make nachos with because really, nachos are life. Nutritional yeast is a cheesy tasting thing (lol, technical) that a lot of vegan cooks use to make things taste like true to life cheese and so I thought that getting some would encourage me to try some more recipes. Looking at you mac and cheese. 

What's on your Amazon wishlist? Do we share any of the same things? 

Til' next time! XOXO
*affiliate links used

Monday, 25 January 2016

Is It Really Better Than Sex?

Please excuse the very misleading title, but no there isn't going to be a post about the things better than sex and this mascara, I'm afraid, isn't better than sex. It is, however, a very very good mascara and I do really like it. Although I don't get bloody makeup companies and their over sexualised names of products. I wear makeup to feel sexy and beautiful but I don't need it to sound like a sex toy, looking at you Orgasm blush. Anyway, before I go off on a tangent about makeup companies, let's talk about this mascara. Better Than Sex mascara by Too Faced.

This mascara is the best I have used in a good old while and I honestly think, of all time. Sound the alarms! I've said it. The best mascara I've ever used. Although I'm usually strictly high street mascaras so my claim is very steep for a high-end prude such as myself.

Take home our Better Than Sex mascara and all your desires for lush, incredibly intense lashes will be fulfilled. One application of our collagen-fueled formula and touch of our specially shaped brush will leave you begging for more. One coat and lashes are full, defined and stretched to unbelievable lengths. Two coats and they’re reaching unbelievable heights of drama. Three coats and you’ll believe in magic.

It does everything it claims to do. It lengthens, gives volume and makes my lashes look amazing. It gets every little hair and I even love it on my bottom lashes. It grabs every hair and doesn't smudge. The only thing I don't like about it is that I've found that half way through the day I'll go to the loo and I'll have those annoying little marks on your eyelid where the mascara has kind of rubbed off leaving a faint mascara mark. Very annoying and I find myself having to rub it a couple of times a day. Maybe that's a bonus because it's made my lashes so long, but it's annoying nonetheless.

For £18, it is very steep and something I'd be umming and aahing at for a good old while. I think if I'd not got a tester for Christmas I'd laugh at someone telling me to buy it, but having tried and tested it myself, I can definitely see what the hype is about.

I've been using this every day since Christmas (officially a month!) and I think I'm just starting to run out because it does seem to be drying out. I have heard quite a few people say that this does dry out quickly, but I think in my case it's just running out. I think a month is great for this sample size and I really think I'm going to splurge the £18 to get a full size. It has changed my view on expensive mascaras really and I love it. If you're going to try one thing from Too Faced, I urge you to try this. Although I think I said that last week in my review of their Melted Lipsticks. Try them both. Try it all. Find it here for £18.

Til' next time! XOXO

Friday, 22 January 2016

Brand Focus: Liz Earle

Liz Earle is one of those brands that is so hyped all over the bloggersphere but I've never had the chance to try it. I'm one of those people that will try and get a budget product wherever they can and in skincare, cleansers are not usually something I spend more than a tenner on. But, the Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish has been high up on my list of things to try and I finally got to in the form of a gift set. In this gift set, you also receive the Gentle Exfoliator and the Soothing Eye Lotion. This is a great introduction set to Liz Earle. 

First, the Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish, which I was most excited to try. You also get two muslin cloths which you use with the cleanser. This is a hot cloth cleanser meaning that you run the muslin cloth under hot water and then use this to rub off the product from your face along with all the grime and makeup of the day. After using this, my face felt very squeaky clean and it literally took away every bit of makeup on my face, including my eye makeup. 

I will say that the muslin cloths aren't the softest and if your face is sensitive or reacts easily, this may be too much. I definitely don't have sensitive skin but this made my face feel raw after. It does take everything off effortlessly and I haven't really tried a cleanser as effective as this. Usually, I have to use my micellar water and then cleanse. I do really like this, but would I pay £14 for this? Hmm, I don't know in all honesty. I've been using this quite often since Christmas and it does feel like I've used quite a lot and so I could see it running out fairly quickly, which is not good when it's £14 a pop (and that's only for 100ml). 

I will be honest, I've only used the Eyebright Soothing Eye Lotion once and it did feel very soothing. This lotion is meant to wake up and revitalise tired eyes and aid puffiness. I don't have puffy eyes generally, except if I've worn my contacts for too long and I can see this being used then. My one gripe with it is that you have to put it on a cotton pad before using it on your eyes, which for me is quite annoying. I hate using too many cotton pads and usually, with eye lotions, I prefer it to be in gel form and then put them under your eyes. 

I hope to use this more and test it out, but for first impressions, it's doing very well. This is usually £6.75 for a 50ml bottle which I think is quite good and especially for those who suffer from tired looking eyes, this will definitely work very well.

 This Gentle Face Exfoliator is actually very effective and left my skin baby soft when I used it. It is definitely gentle in the way that it didn't irritate my skin and actually left it moisturised. It uses jojoba beads to buff away dead skin, eucalyptus oil to purify and deep clean and then cocoa butter with almond oil to moisturise.

I think the added moisture makes this an ideal exfoliator and I'd say out of all three pieces in the set, this is the one I'm most looking forward to using more. This starts from £6.25 for 15ml which is a great price to test something out.

My first experience with Liz Earle is definitely a positive one. It is quite pricey and not a budget product for those who don't like to spend a lot on skincare, but I wouldn't call it high-end either, it's firmly on the middle ground with very affordable options to try this brand out. If you've never tried Liz Earle out before, I'd highly recommend trying it.

Til' next time! XOXO

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Disney Mug Wishlist

Spring Tinkerbell Mug £13 / Peter Pan and Friends Mug £8.95 / Rapunzel Sketch Mug £7.95 / Belle Sketch Mug £7.95 / Snow White Sketch Mug £7.95 / Cinderella Sketch Mug £7.95 / Alice In Wonderland Mug £8.95

Everyone and their mother know how much I love Disney and their Disney mugs are at the top of the list of the merchandise I love. We literally only have Disney mugs and if someone even thinks about getting a different mug they will have to deal with the wrath of Courtney (me). 

I love the Disney sketch mugs and even though Snow White is my least favourite Disney princess, the red mug is so pretty and I want her to be my first Snow White mug! I also adore the Peter Pan mug and I don't think that movie gets enough love within the Disney merchandise circle. The artwork of the Disney mugs lately is so beautiful. Which one of these is your favourite?

Til' next time! XOXO

Monday, 18 January 2016

Too Faced Melted Lipstick First Impressions

I have wanted to try anything from Too Faced since I heard that it finally came to the UK. Apart from their Born This Way foundation, the Melted Lipsticks were the first things I wanted to try. The melted lipsticks aren't a typical lipstick but a sort of opaque lipgloss that drys down to a nice finish that will honestly last all day. All the colours I've tried so far are insanely pigmented and I've got to say how impressed I am with them. At Christmas, they do great gift sets and I got the chance to try out 4 testers of 4 very different shades. 

In this set I received Chihuahua which is the most ideal nude, Peony which is a very bright pink and something I've not dared to wear outside the confines of my room, Berry which is a nice dark pink and perfect to add a bit of vampyness to a pink look and finally Macaron which is a baby pink and something I can't see myself wearing at all. 

I've only worn Chihuahua and Berry for an extended period of time and can definitely say they are as long lasting as they boast. Chihuahua, the nude, is such a perfect nude and looks even better paired with a matching lipliner. I will say this doesn't last as long as the berry shade, but that's expected with a nude. Berry tends to settle down after a few hours and then transforms into more of a stain rather than a lipstick. I will say that these do transfer on mugs and glasses. They aren't a matte lipstick by any means and you can build them up so that they have more of a glossy look or keep them sheer to add more colour to your lips. 

I like the application sponge that is used with these lipsticks and it definitely aids application. As they are a squeezy tube it can be easy to use too much and unlike a normal lipstick you can't just roll them back down. I will say that Peony is definitely the streakiest of the bunch and you would need a couple of coats to make it perfect. I think that's partly due to it being part of their metallic range. Their metallic range has small particulates and glitter within them which is pretty but quite an unnecessary as it definitely doesn't make for a better lipstick, in my eyes. Both metallic shades are streaky compared to the normal range and definitely my least favourite out of the 4. 

(from left to right: Melted Peony, Melted Chihuahua, Melted Macaron and Melted Berry) 

Have you ever tried any of the Too Faced range? The full sized version of these are £15 and I don't know if I'd pay that in all honesty for a full sized. However, I really do love Chihuahua and it's tempting to buy that when it runs out. I like the quality of these and I do think they're worth the price, especially if you like high end brands. You can find them on the Too Faced website here or the Debenhams website here.

Til' next time! XOXO

Friday, 15 January 2016

Currently Watching #1

I see this kind of post all the time and love reading them, but have never made my own. To say how obsessed I am with Netflix and Now TV, you'd think I'd have something to gush about, and I do. I am currently bouncing between series, but the series I'm watching I'm obsessed with and I'm blaming them for my overuse of dry shampoo because I can't tear myself away from the telly and go wash my gross hair. I also blame them for my overconsumption of popcorn in the last couple of weeks.

Grey's Anatomy
An oldie but a goodie. I always heard people say how good it is and one of my friends was always urging me to watch it, but I put it off for some weird reason. I'm currently on season 5 and I only started in December. I'm obsessed with this show and it seriously sucks you in so much that you just have to keep watching. For those of you who don't know, Grey's Anatomy is set in a hospital following a group of interns as they go through their internship. It's great because there are a lot of medical stuff going on, but there's a lot of relationship drama and my god Patrick Dempsey lives up to his name of McDreamy. I have lost count of how many times I have cried at this programme and I can't stop watching. 5 series down 7 more to go.

Criminal Minds
I started watching this years ago but stopped when it stopped playing on Netflix. Currently, all the series are on Now TV and so I've managed to finally get to the end! This follows less of a story than Grey's Anatomy and is more about the catching bad guys part. It's definitely a programme to watch if you like CSI or other crime programmes. It follows the role of members of the Behaviour Analysis Unit of the FBI who profile serial killers and help police catch them. It's very interesting and made me wish for a relationship like Derek Morgan and Penelope Garcia. Seriously, why aren't they married and making cute little babies together?!

Making A Murderer
I've only just jumped on the hype for this and so far have only seen two episodes, but it's hard to stop watching. It's honestly shocking to see how corrupt police officers can get, especially in a small town where everyone knows each other. I couldn't believe how Steven Avery was put away for 18 years for a crime he didn't commit and could've been proven that he didn't commit. I really recommend this if you like crime documentaries, but not if you have a short temper because it might make you want to fly to ... and punch the sheriff.

Trisha Paytas (blndsundoll4mj)
I've been watching Trisha for ages now and I know she's not everyone's cup of tea, but she's so honest and funny and honestly, one of my favourite YouTubers. Her collabs with Shane Dawson are my favourite collabs on the internet and she's seriously funny. She makes a lot of hauls and storytime videos, which often refer to sex and food lol. Like I said, not everyone's cup of tea but I adore her.

Grav3yard Girl
Bunny is easily one of my favourite YouTubers and lately, I've found myself clicking on every video she uploads. She's sassy and interesting, with a unique sense of decor and style. She often does lipstick reviews, which are my fave and also her "Does This Thing Really Work" series are very entertaining to watch.

Emily Fox
This is one of my more recent discoveries after searching for "Nyx Matte Lip Cream Swatches". Emily Fox is a French Canadian and often does lipstick reviews and swatches, which I love as you get to see what the actual lipstick looks like on an actual person. She also does hauls and she has a great sense of fashion.

Kalel has been around on YouTube for a while but seems to like to switch channels a lot. She has a new channel up and literally only uploaded like 4 videos and already had 3 million subscribers. I like to watch her Vegan Taste Test videos and also her What I Ate In A Day series as she's a very devout vegan, but she's also got a great figure and it's inspirational to see what she eats in a day, to me

Sarah Rae Vargas
I love this girl so much and her "Let's Talk About Sex" is my favourite thing to watch. She's so brutally honest and I love watching her. She has two very cute little kiddies and often posts body confidence videos. I love her hauls and she's a great plus size YouTuber to watch.

That's currently everything I've been obsessed with lately. Have you watched any of these? What are you obsessed with lately? I love hearing suggestions on what to watch and what you've been lovely lately.

Til' next time! XOXO

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

January The Melt Crowd Unboxing

I think I must start this monthly post the same every month, always expressing how excited I am to receive it. In all honesty, this month I wasn't that fussed because I was wondering how they were going to follow their amazing Christmas box and also what kind of scents January deserves, or as I like the call it The Shittest Month Of The Year. Although, I do think they've done a great job of following it up and this month has a lot of clean and refreshing scents, just what you want to start the year off. They've also included two wax melts from their new range B.A.R.E which is made up of essential oils and other stuff I don't understand. 

Pink Denim: What exactly is pink denim supposed to smell like? I love the smell of fresh denim, it's such a homely scent but I don't know how making it pink would change the scent? I'm full of questions about this scent. It does smell nice, sweet and fresh. I dunno, I'm confused. 

Baby Powder: This is a lovely scent that envisions cuddling up to a freshly changed baby and just having a good old sniff of their baby head. I recently became an auntie and so this reminds me of that cute little bundle of poop I call my neice. It's very realistic to the real thing, although I don't think it's as strong as the Yankee Candle version. 

Coconut: I think this is the marmite of the group, you either love it or you hate it. I love coconut and it's one of those scents I will never get sick of. I love coconut body butter/scrub/wash just give me all that coconut. I'm going to emerge from my coconut bubble bath after washing myself in coconut shower gel and put coconut body butter on myself while lighting my coconut wax melt and pretend I'm sat on a beach drinking a pina colada out of a pretend coconut. 

Crystal Mountain Water: Water does not have a scent. I don't know how making it from a mountain and maybe crystal clear makes it smell any different, it just doesn't have a scent. This wax melt is lovely though and smells like nothing I've really smelt before. It's fresh and citrusy and exactly how I'd imagine sugar and water with a dash of lemon to smell. Worse description ever. 

B.A.R.E Orange and Lemongrass: Do you know when you first enter a Lush shop and you're just hit with that Lush smell, that smell that all Lush shops have no matter where you are? Well, they've got that smell and put it in a wax melt. This smells exactly like that and I can't really say anything else about it. 

B.A.R.E Cinnamon and Mandarin: Ah my arch nemesis, we meet again. Cinnamon, the devil of the scent world. It's January, Christmas is over, can we stop with the Cinnamon scents, please. Honestly, this doesn't smell like Cinnamon but I do know that it is awful. I literally got everyone in my house to have a whiff of this because it is so bad. It smells like pepper. Like you've literally stuck your nose in a tub of pepper, except it doesn't make you sneeze. I hate this. Awful. Big mistake. You suck.

Whisky: I have tried whisky a few times and it has never nor will it ever be my drink of choice. After downright knowing you hate a spirit, you definitely know what it smells like and this does not smell like whisky. I mean, I know they can't exactly put the exact smell that comes with whisky into a wax melt and this one definitely doesn't burn like whisky does. I suppose it does smell like whisky in the way that Jack Daniels BBQ Sauce smells like whisky. You can get a hint of it, but the rest is just sugary stuff yet again. This is the monthly "take to Sams house cause this is kind of masculine and he's a boy and can't have girly scents in his bedroom" wax melt and I think he'll like it cause whisky is just for men and not for us poor fragile females, right? 

Strawberry Jam: This is very sweet and actually very much like the real life thing. It is strawberries and sugar and a whole lot of preservatives. This is the only one that doesn't really fit in with the whole "natural and fresh" vibe that this box has going on. I suppose they just wanted to add a dash of colour to ruin the perfectly good pastel aesthetic. 

This box actually really impressed me even though I found some of the names utterly stupid and enjoying making fun of it all far too much. I think most of these melts must be part of their spring range because I can't find any of them on their website. I really like how they include new stuff in their boxes before it's released to the general public. I really like brands that appreciate loyal customers and it's something that makes me a loyal, repeat customer. Yay brand loyalty!

If you want to get your own Melt Crowd box, it is £10 a month and in your first box, you get a wax burner to melt all of these ridiculously named wax melts. I refuse to get makeup subscriptions because I just think they're hit and miss, but this is always something I love. Except cinnamon, fuck you cinnamon.

Til' next time! XOXO

Monday, 11 January 2016

Going Dairy Free: My Thoughts So Far

I made the decision to go dairy free after reading about it a lot online and deciding that it would be a good dietary decision for my body. I told myself that I'd cut out all dairy where I could and not punish myself for slipping up every so often. I did this with the goal to lose a bit of weight and feel better about myself. So far, I've been mainly dairy free for over a week now and I'm really enjoying it. I've had a few slip ups and I've found that I forget that I'm dairy free when someone offers me a coffee at work or if I'm adding lashings of condiments to my salads and then I have to hastily check the label.

It has also been quite hard in a household full of meat eating, dairy guzzling, gun toting, northerners who just don't really get the whole dairy free thing. I started out by replacing milk with almond and soya milk and also butter with a dairy free alternative. These were the easy steps as I already love soya lattes and almond milk on my cereal and butter alternatives don't taste much different when cooking or on a sandwich.

Since doing this, I've thought a lot more about what goes into my food and all the processed crap that I'm putting into my body. It's made me appreciate cooking more as I have to think about alternatives and recipes that I can eat that won't make my body inflate and that my boyfriend won't moan about. I'm eating a lot more wholemeal things and using a lot more vegetables in my daily life that has just made me feel better all round. Cutting out fatty dairy such as cheese and replacing it with lean meat or vegetables has made me feel a lot better. I've been trying to cut down on tea and coffee at work and replace it with water and green tea, to cut down my dairy intake there. I allowed myself those little discrepancies owing to the fact I didn't want to cut everything out immediately and risk my body reacting badly. I've found myself craving dairy less and less and even though I do miss cheese, oh boy do I miss cheese, I've found that I don't crave it as much and I can think of alternatives.

I'm dairy free and trying to lose weight which means that I definitely don't need cheese in my diet and I think I still have some stored up after everything I ate over Christmas anyway. I've found that Nakd bars, almonds and fruit are becoming my snacks rather than an afternoon chocolate bar and crisps which is a much healthier swap. For lunch, I'm either making a wholemeal pasta salad or having rice cakes with peanut butter and banana. For tea, I'll make either pasta again or go for a hearty concoction of steam veggies, sweet potato and some form of meat or fish. It might appear pretty repetitive to some people but I feel great for it and my body is thanking me after the overindulgence of Christmas.

I will admit on Saturday I kind of went "fuck it" and had a cheat day of sorts and ate basically loads of crap with dairy in it such as chocolate and a Greggs sausage roll (keeping it classy) and I felt so crap the next morning. I was bloated and my stomach hurt and I just felt sluggish. I felt guilty and my body hated me. I don't want to restrict myself from treats or slips, but I went hard on the dairy that day and I definitely didn't feel good for it. I'm seeing this as a lifestyle change rather than a diet and so I need to find dairy-free treats that will satisfy my urge for sugar. I'm going to look for dairy free/vegan ice cream recipes and dessert recipes to have around so when I need a treat or a sugar fix, I'll have that on hand.

Overall, I'm loving being dairy free so far although people don't really get it when I say I'm going dairy free to help me lose weight. I will admit that the more I've settled into the lifestyle of dairy free the more I've been researching dairy farming and the vegan lifestyle. I'm definitely not ready to take the plunge to veganism or vegetarianism, just because I need to get in the swing of cutting a major part of my diet out to begin with. But, I am considering it further down the line. Animals are something I feel passionately about and I feel like a giant hypocrite saying that when I eat meat. Hopefully, I can change this in months and years to go, but for now going dairy free is me trying to help in whatever way I can.

I don't weigh myself, although my boyfriend thinks I should just to mark my progress, but I go on how my clothes fit and how I feel and so far so good. I don't know if this is down to me eating cleaner or cutting dairy out, but either way, I feel good and I am definitely going to continue on my dairy free journey.

My advice for those thinking of going dairy free:

  • Research research research
  • There are so many recipes online, use them!
  • Try all the milk alternatives before you rule them out (almond milk in coffee is a no)
  • It's easier than you think, daily staples don't include dairy such as most breads, pasta and crisps!
  • Don't go all in, take it slow and steady.
  • The cravings will pass
I'd love to know your thoughts on this and if you have ever thought of cutting anything from your diet before whether it be dairy, meat, sugar or anything else. I'm going to continue posting this sort of thing and update you all on my progress and I'd love to know if you like this sort of thing!

Til' next time! XOXO

Friday, 8 January 2016

The Disney Dreams Collection 2016 Calendar by Thomas Kinkade

I always buy a new calendar every year even though I am most definitely not one of those people who writes or really uses calendars or diaries. I buy a calendar and then put birthdays in it even though I will never forget them so what I'm really saying is, I don't really know why I buy calendars at all. At all. Except I definitely know why I bought this because it's based on the work of Thomas Kinkade who is the artist behind The Disney Dreams Collection and I am the biggest fan of this collection. It is so beautiful and the artist is so talented and if you are a fan of Disney at all I would definitely check out his work. I would most definitely buy one of his painting if I was loaded, but this calendar is the next best thing and it was only £9.99 from Amazon so win, win.

January Pinnochio
This is the ultimate classic in the calendar and although it isn't even in my top 10 Disney films, I can still admire the movie and the classic tale that is Pinnochio. I think it is the perfect starter image because it really is one of the first Disney films I remember watching and I think it's a perfect start to the year. The image is beautiful, obviously and I like that although the sole focus is, of course, Pinnochio, the scenery takes up a big chunk of the image and it's so beautiful that it really fits the imagery well.

February Aladdin
I love Aladdin, again it isn't in my top 10 but it's my brothers favourite Disney film and so it reminds me of him. The imagery of this is beautiful and I love the little circle with the Sultan in it and Rajah the tiger. One thing I don't like about this image is that the scenery looks very painted whereas Jasmine and Aladdin look almost photoshopped and to me they just don't look like they belong in the picture. It's still so amazing and again, the scenery to me is breathtaking but the actual couple just doesn't fit in my eyes. So, I'd say this is my least favourite of the bunch. Plus, where's Genie?!

March The Princess and the Frog
This is the most modern film of the lot and I think it's done very well to look vintage and authentic. I think this is so pretty and captures the essence of the movie very well. I also like that they've included the frog version and the human version of Tiana and her prince. I am not even going to mention scenery again because I just don't need to, just look at it!

April Beauty and the Beast
The don of all Disney movies for April and my god, it's a beauty (and the beast lol). This is so beautiful and I'm in love with this one. I've seen the full image for this one where some of the scenery aren't cut off and it's so pretty and I think it's even prettier than this little version. I swear if I was loaded and a little bit crazy I would fill my whole house with these canvases.

May Cinderella
I'm a giant baby sucker  for scenery and I think this is my least favourite in terms of that but it is a lovely piece and Cinderella is classic. I love the little Lucifer in the circle and the bridge piece is truly beautiful. Again, I think the actual couple have a photshopped feel to them but I suppose they are cartoons and aren't supposed to look like cartoons, not actual people. So, I'll let it slide.

June Sleeping Beauty
Aurora is down there at the bottom of my least favourite Disney princesses (Snow White takes the title) but this picture is so beautiful and everything about it is magnificent. I like how everything is included in it from the fairies to the castle in the background. This one,  I think, is the prettiest although I'm not a giant fan of the movie itself.

July Fantasia
I don't actually think I've ever seen Fantasia but this wouldn't be a Disney calendar really if it didn't include Mickey Mouse. I think this is a very beautiful scene but apart from Mickey there isn't anything very Disney-esque about it, in my eyes.

August The Little Mermaid
Look at it, just look how lovely this is! It's so amazingly colourful and shiny and perfect. Again, I've seen the full image of this and it's really magnificent and he's also done a painting from the "Kiss the Girl" scene which is so brilliant and you need to check out his website and have a look at it. I love The Little Mermaid and this really captures the film amazingly well. Just look at it!

September The Jungle Book
This is my birth month and although it isn't my favourite I think it fits my month very well. It's a fun image and cheeky which I really like. It's set in the jungle and I expect the scenery to be beautiful, which obviously it is. I like that they include everything in this picture, even the little girl in the background who Mowgli meets. I haven't seen the Jungle Book in ages but this really makes me want to watch it.

October The Lion King
I love the Lion King and this is so beautiful! My brother is currently decorating his babies room with a Lion King theme and so I think once I've used up this calendar I'm going to frame this print and put it up in her room. I love the lighting effect in this image and think the sky in this is so beautiful! (I've used beautiful way too much, brb getting a thesaurus)

November Lady And The Tramp
This is the most underrated Disney film in my opinion and one that tugs on my heartstrings every time. Dogs and dogs being neglected and evil cats, no wonder! I really like this image and I think it's really cute. Notice in the background, in the boutique, there's the dress that Sleeping Beauty wears too which I think is really cool!

December Peter Pan
We're onto the final month now and it features an amazing Peter Pan scene. I love Peter Pan and I think that it has some of the best quotes in it, even though the bit where they leave Nana always gets to me! I love the bit where you can see all the pirates in the clouds, that's so cool!

That's it for this calendar and honestly I 'm so in love with it! I think it's my favourite calendar I've ever bought and I actually can't wait for the year to be up so that I can frame all the prints and hang them in my room. I'd love to see him paint some of the more recent Disney films in this classic style. Honestly, if you've never heard of Thomas Kinkade but you're a huge fan of Disney, I'd definitely check out some of his work on his website (or here if you're in the UK) and check out the Tangled painting he has done which is just amazing! If you want this calendar it's £10.99 on Amazon (currently out of stock, but you can still order and they'll send it when it's available) or you can get a mini version for £5.99 which features some different films such as Bambi. Which is your favourite image from the calendar?

Til' next time! XOXO

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