Sunday, 31 December 2017

What I Bought In The Sales 2017

I am an oddity among my friends because I'm really not a Christmas person. I don't enjoy it. It's just another day for me. (Halloween is most definitely where it's at, if you were wondering) However, what I do love, is the sales that come in the following days! Normally the bulk of my change ends up going to Lush and the Body Shop as I stock up on products with the intention of them lasting me an entire year (and this year I was actually successful in that! I'm on the teeniest little bit of left over Snow Fairy as we speak) however this year I mixed it up a bit. I started my day optimistically at Harrods hoping that there would be a lovely Bulgari snake bag in the mix or perhaps a Prada bag, but was unsuccessful at both. However, I did get myself quite a good range of goodies!

The first purchase as you can see in the picture above is a Mac Snowball Mini Lipstick kit which I found reduced from £80 to £60. This was only a very limited time sale so I was happy to find this one! It comes with 12 mini lipsticks in all of their most popular shades and I absolutely love it. I genuinely thought this would be one of those purchases that I'd go on to regret, however I couldn't be more pleased with it! I'm not going to say too much more here, as I've written up a full review that you can check out here!


Saturday, 23 December 2017

My 2018 Travel Plans - And Travel Bucket List!

  I've made it no secret that the last few months of 2017 were pretty bad. In fact, the only thing that I looked forward to for the majority of it was a trip that ended up having the flight cancelled the day before - although that did mean a last minute trip to Costa Rica ended up happening, which turned out to be a wonderful country to visit! (By the way - the above photo was taken in California, and I've love to tell you where exactly from but it was actually at a random road-side toilet!)


Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Review: 2018 Happiness Planner

 At the very beginning of this year, I posted a review all about Happiness Planners' 52 Week Journal which you can read here. I'd had a bit of a dilemma between whether to get the 52 week option or the full planner, but ultimately decided I'd almost certainly stop writing half way through and so the 52 week option would be more sensible for me. And...uh...that's exactly what happened. And yet, somehow, here we are after me being unable to resist a purchase of the full journal this time!

  This is the lux version in white and rose gold. If I'm being honest I don't know how big the difference is between the lux version and the regular one, but the colours I wanted were out of stock so I went for the upgraded version!

  If you don't know what a Happiness Planner is, it's essentially a daily journal that focuses on improving your overall happiness and wellbeing. I've had a really rough few months (can't wait to be able to talk to you all about what's been going on!) and figured something like this would be helpful in focusing on pulling myself back up again. Plus, you know, it fulfils my desire to overwrite about absolutely everything...!

 As with the 52 Week Journal, the planner comes with a couple of pull out pieces, including 2017 reflections and goals. This year I didn't actually fill any of these out and I'm not sure I will this year either, but it's a nice idea if you are interested in doing it.

 I was pleased to see the return of the little paperclips, even though I didn't use a single one of them last year! This year the planner has also come with a rose gold pen that feels pretty sturdy and two bigger clips. I want to keep the pen clipped on to the journal, but I also want to take it to work with me just because it's so pretty.

 An obvious difference between the two planners is that this one is categorised by months rather than by week number. It all looks good - you won't hear me criticise anything about how this planner looks!

 As with the 52 Week Journal, the planner begins with a number of pages where you write all about yourself, your favourite things about yourself, what makes you happy, etc etc. It's almost exactly the same as this years' one, except with an extra three pages. I'd have liked to see a bit more difference here, but I really enjoyed filling this section out this year and it's a good idea.

 Before each month, the planner begins with a plan for the month. This includes sections for things such as goals, and what you're excited for. It's nice to have this section but I actually would have liked this to be a bit bigger - that being said the planner is already probably more than big enough!

 Each day has its own page for reflection. It includes your to do list, your main focus, your meals, etc. This is a big difference from the 52 Week journal, as the 52 Week version just has a page per week. I'm still a little worried I won't actually fill out all the sections, but I suppose it's not the most important thing in the world if I don't. It's very well laid out and pretty, and the Notes section is big enough that you can use it for something else if the section you want isn't included.

At the end of each month is this review section. Like the 52 Week Journal, you can score yourself and your mood over the month. This was something I really liked about the 52 Week Version - I really liked tracking myself and my mood over the weeks. There are sections to include what you've learned, what your struggles were and how you overcame them - I really like this section!

So, that's the Happiness Planner for 2018! What do you think?

Obviously I can't fully review this yet, as I haven't actually started to use it. It's definitely a big step up from the 52 Week Planner that I used this year, but we'll see how much of it I actually do fill out! I really like the look and feel of it and it's definitely a well built journal, I just hope I have the commitment to stick to filling it out.

You can go and buy your own journal here! The planner starts at £40.

Friday, 15 December 2017

Ciate Mini Mani Month 2017 - Days 6-10

 Last week I updated with the first 5 days of my Ciate advent calendar - and now it's time for part two!

  It's been quite tiring having to change and swatch my nail colour almost every day, but actually I haven't minded the experience at all. Apart from one day when a colour just WOULD NOT come off, it's not been anywhere near as problematic as I thought it might become.

  As always, if you're following me on Instagram you'll get to see my daily unboxing on my InstaStories - but now let's get on to the proper swatches and reviews for days 6-10.

 Day #6 contained Moonlit Whispers, and HOLY WOW this colour is beautiful. From the second I pulled out the little bottle I was in love with the colour, but didn't really expect it to translate too well to the nail. I was amazed by how pretty and vibrant it was with a whole variety of blue, purple and green tones to it. I'm also very disappointed to tell you that this shade is an exclusive to the calendar - otherwise I would already have gone out and got a full size bottle for myself! If you get the chance to get hold of this colour I absolutely would recommend it.

 Day #7 contained Beach Please, a gorgeous shade that falls between a pink and a red depending on your lighting. It's super shiny and a lovely colour - this is actually the shade that I've had the most compliments on so far!

 Day #8 contained Desert Lights. From the bottle, I expected this to be quite a purpley shade, but on the nail it's actually far more of a silver with a slight purple tint to it. I don't actually mind this, I probably prefer it how it looks on the nail to how it looks in the bottle, but do bear this in mind if you're considering buying this shade or you'll probably be disappointed!

 Day #9 contained The Naked Truth, and is the first colour I don't really like all that much. I love how this colour looks in the bottle and on it's own, but on me I find these sort of shades just clash with my skin tone. I want to be able to wear a colour like this, but ultimately they just don't suit me unfortunately!

 Day #10 contained What The Shell, and this is the first colour I have really mixed opinions of. First of all, I should state that this colour is much more of a vibrant purple than it looks in photos - despite best efforts and trying every room in the flat, the camera REALLY wants to give it a blue tint that it just doesn't have in real life. When I pulled this colour out I was in love with it immediately. It's probably the prettiest purple I've ever seen. HOWEVER... I just don't think it looks great as a nail polish? The colour is beautiful on it's own, but when I'm actually wearing it something isn't quite right about it. If you like wearing purples though, do buy this, it is a stunning shade.

Week two is complete and I am still SO happy with this calendar. At the time of writing I'm on the next week of polishes and the best is yet to come - but I'm so happy with the colours I've been receiving. This calendar has been so consistently good, and I already know I want to buy it again next year!

Thursday, 14 December 2017

December's Blog Spotlight Post

It's that time again - here are 10 posts that I've enjoyed reading lately, that I'd recommend you go and peek a look at too!

Also, coming soon - it's no secret that I love Instagram, so I'm going to start doing one of these for Instagram too. My blog spotlight posts seem to have started being every other month - so on that in-between month, I'm going to include some top Instagram choices for you to take a peek at too :-)

001. Katy took a trip to Japan, and has 11 tips for first time visitors. The above photo is from her post, too!

002. Amber is doing a series on the good, the bad and the awkward things that are happening to her - and I'm really enjoying reading them!

003. Scarlett met Nicky Clarke - and then updated a fabulous post full of hair care secrets!

004. Millie has just come back from Mexico, and has some suggestions on what Mayan ruins you should take a trip to!

005. Beth is considering whether or not bloggers should be relatable.

006. Amanda has some recommendations on what Iceland tours are worth doing.

007. Erica has some advice on doing a Disney park when you're in your 30s.

008. Another from Amber - this time looking at her gorgeous new nursery!

009. And another from Scarlett - this time looking at the global getaways she'd most recommend.

010. Finally, one from Josie on why the Maldives will always be special to her.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

December's Fashion Favourites

If you're a regular visitor over here, you'll probably have noticed I just don't do as many fashion posts as I used to. And the reason for this is unfortunately quite straight forward - I just haven't really been all that impressed with what a lot of stores have been putting out there lately. Stores have been featuring the same old colours and the same old styles over and over again and I've been struggling to create a wish list at all that I could genuinely say that I wanted to buy the items on it.

I am glad to say that December has changed that - finally, there's a bit of variety back! Take a look through the below choices to see what my recommendations are for the month. Clicking any link will take you through to the item itself via shopstylecollective - but I assure you that all items have been chosen because I genuinely like them and want to buy them!

Let's start with Oasis, my long term favourite fashion store but also the one I haven't really bought too much from lately. Luckily, this year Oasis is back with the beautiful light jumpers that I love from them, as well as a gorgeous fairytale range which includes lots of bright colours and florals.

Apricot is another of my most loved stores - and I've already made a sneaky little order of some of these! Normally the reason I love Apricot is actually because of their bright and unusual patterns - but this time around I've found myself drawn to their darker shades and their greys. If the choices below don't appeal to you, I really would recommend taking a look through - there are lots of really nice options available there right now!

Lipsy is a store I haven't bought from in a while - but I think that's going to change! I LOVE the dress in the middle so much, but I can't quite work out whether or not I want to buy it. Well, I know I WANT to buy it, but it's one of those dresses I'm not sure I'll ever quite have the right occasion to wear it for!

River Island are another store offering lots of deep colours - including a lot of Burgundy shades, which I am very much enjoying! I think I'm going to make a purchase of the first top shown below - it's just so pretty and such a great shape and colour!

I'm never sure how I feel about Missguided. I really want to love them, but I'm yet to actually buy anything from them. I'm really enjoying some of the party dresses they're bringing out right now though, so I think this may change soon! New Look are another one bringing out the darks - take a look through their site if you're looking for some pretty heeled sandals as well, particularly if it's a darker colour you're interested in!


Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Ciate Mini Mani Month 2017 - Days 1-5

 Though I love the concept of the beauty or alternative advent calendar, this year I just wasn't really planning on buying one. I've bought them before and though I've got some lovely products out of them, for the most part I've ended up with drawers full of products that I never actually used. I looked through all the offerings this year and saw so many beautiful calendars, but nothing was quite sticking out to me as being worth the risk.

  However, this year you've probably noticed that I've become a big fan of the nail polish, and Ciate have become my brand of choice due to the big variety of interesting and beautiful colours that they sell. As such I decided to pick up their Mini Mani Month advent calendar, and well, you'll just have to read on to see what I think of it so far! Here's what the first five days have contained... (and click the name of any product if you want to go and buy a bottle of it yourself!)

 Day one provided Midnight In Paris, a dark glittery shade. I wasn't initially sure that I'd like this colour as it is very dark and my darker polishes don't get much wear - but this colour is actually beautiful. It applies as an inky blue colour with glitter and shimmer in blues and whites. It's actually a gorgeous colour and applies much nicer than it looks like it will from the bottle! Though I don't wear darks very often, I REALLY like this, and it's a definite keeper.

 Day two provided Cabaret, and spoiler alert: this is already one of my favourite nail polishes. What an absolutely beautiful colour! It's a stunning purpley-pink and I fell in love with it immediately. It's a beautifully versatile shade and the colour is perfect. Obviously a keeper!

 Day three doesn't get any swatches - it's a top coat! I was pleased to receive this as I'm running low on my normal one and had wanted to give Ciate's a try anyway. I wish the bottle was a bit bigger - I have no issue with the polishes being teeny, but something like a top coat really needs to be in a bigger size than this as you're going to be using it pretty much every time you apply your varnishes! I don't like how this one applies as it feels a bit streaky as it goes on, but it's super shiny and looks good when it's on. A keeper!

 Day 4 provided Part Time Mermaid, a colour that I was looking forward to trying as I'd seen it all over Instagram. In the bottle it looks like a beautiful pearlescent aquamarine shade, but I didn't completely love how it looked on. For starters it took quite a few layers to get this one looking nice - most of my nails needed four coats, and I find it was more likely to have chips or uneven points than the other colours too. It didn't look anywhere near as pearlescent when actually on my nails, but it's still a nice colour. I definitely look at it and get a mermaid vibe from it, and I'm still going to be keeping it - it just won't be joining my list of favourite blues!

 Our final shade in this set was Locket, a light silver colour with big glitter chunks in it. I didn't think I'd like this colour too much, but actually it applies really well. It's not as over the top as I'd feared it would be - you definitely notice the chunks, but they aren't as in your face as I'd thought they would be. I don't know if this is the sort of polish I'll be going for particularly frequently, but it's very pretty and a keeper for sure!

 So there you have days 1-5, and as you can see - a definite success! I LOVE this box so far. It's got a great variety of colours and I'm actually really looking forward to opening up the box each day. There are some beautiful colours in here, some of which I probably wouldn't have purchased if I hadn't received them in the calendar but love all the same.

Which colour is your favourite so far? And if you'd love to give Ciate a try but aren't quite sold on any of these shades, check out LookFantastic's full stock here!

Monday, 4 December 2017

It's Christmas in Disneyland Paris - Part Two, Disney Village & Disney Studios

 Before I start, I should probably give you a little link - head over here if you're more interested in reading about Disneyland Park!

  The first part of this post focuses on Disney Village, which is the Paris equivalent of Disney Springs and Downtown Disney. Of course, it is a fair bit smaller, but it has an enjoyable charm to it and is a nice place to spend a couple of hours.

 One of my favourite parts about these little areas is the fashion. I LOVE the Disney fashion. I find that they do a great job of making clothes with a good amount of Disney to it - but without it being tacky. I loved the above jumper, and pretty much the entirety of the Parisienne Minnie collection.

 The Christmas plushes were pretty awesome as well! I didn't really like the rest of the decorations - I thought the baubles DID look tacky and just looked cheap, but the plushes were adorable.

 When it came to food and snacks, we were disappointed. There's not a whole lot of variety, and what there is is pretty expensive. It's France! The variety of what you can buy from the stalls should be so much higher than this!

But overall, you're going to have a good time in Disney Village. It is what it is. The hotels and the areas lack the huge amount of theming that you'll find in the Orlando park (but I'd say the hotels definitely beat the California ones) but the Village itself has charm to it and is nice to spend time in and explore - just be prepared for the fact that food will cost you more than expect, and won't be at the standard you're hoping for!

Next up takes us to Disney Studios! This is the second park in Paris, and the one that I was most confused about before visiting. Pretty much every review I read about the park was terrible, but it also seemed to play host to some of the most well regarded rides.

 And, well, I would say the above description is accurate. It's just...not a very good park. There's not that much to do there and there was a grand total of one food area open when we were there meaning it was constantly rammed. The overall theming was lacking (It was a pretty consistent comment I overheard from people wondering why there was no Christmas or festive touches whatsoever) and the queues were long due to the fact that you were pretty limited on what to do.

 But, it wasn't all bad by any means. The Ratatouille ride actually made me feel quite ill, but was still a very enjoyable and interesting ride. Mickey & The Magician is a nice little show although you definitely miss some very important parts of it as the hat and Mickey exclusively speak French, which means you can't quite work out some of their conversations. It is very much a half day park, but I'd still suggest you do go. And if you're going in this season, do go and see the end of day show!

 I was pleased to see the car stunt show here! It's almost identical to the version that was playing in Orlando, but it's nice to see. I know these kind of setups aren't very Disney, but actually I enjoy watching them.

  If you followed my Twitter over this time, you'll probably also know I got briefly stranded at Disney! Our train went from being delayed by 15 minutes to 3 hours, and the station staff weren't in the least bit helpful. Luckily, there were a fair few of us there so over the hours we slowly met more and more people who had also now missed their Eurostar connection at Lille as a result. There was a lot of unclear communication over this. When we phoned Eurostar, they told us that on arrival at Lille we'd be getting a complementary hotel stay and dinner. Someone else phoned Eurostar and were told that they were putting on an extra train for us and gave us a number. When we asked the member of staff at the station, he denied this. When our train finally turned up (and then broke down again at the next station) we headed to Lille not knowing what on earth was going to be happening, but heard an intercom announcement for people heading to London. We followed the instructions to the Eurostar area and found that they were going to be giving a non-stopping train an extra stop so that we'd be able to get on it, and also gave us these food boxes. The food inside was really not nice at all and it was hilarious watching the expressions of everyone as we all cautiously tried it all, but it was a nice gesture and Eurostar were very helpful to us. We were also sat opposite someone from California and someone from Tokyo, so got a bit more of a comparison of all the parks!

 Overall, would I recommend the parks? Yes, I would, but I do think it's very important to tell you to lower your expectations if you're a visitor to the Orlando ones. It's just not in the same league. It's a nice park and it's very pretty, but it's not quite the same. That's not to say I won't return - I'd like to go and see how Halloween is at the park - but I'd still rank it below the Orlando and Californian counterparts. And we'll have to wait til March to see how the Tokyo offering fits in!

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