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Monday, 8 January 2018

Looking Back On 2017


I would describe 2017 as 'the year I had to grow up'. It is the year I graduated from university, moved in with my husband, fell pregnant, and gave birth to my first born child. I know, I really managed to pack a lot of big life things into 12 months. I feel like I am leaving this year very different to the person I was back in January and I am excited for what 2018 has to offer.



January
The year started with me living in Ambleside, Lake District with my husband. This was during the Christmas holidays which stretched from the start of December to the end of January. We both worked at the same restaurant and spent most of our spare time going on long walks in the mountains together and drinking lots of hot chocolate in cafes. This was a beautiful start to the year. We also took a trip up to Edinburgh to celebrate our two year anniversary.


February
This month I returned to Cardiff for university and I struggled being apart from Isaac but I pushed myself to continue and finish the course. I went back to Ambleside for a week towards the end of the month to visit Isaac and to have a belated Valentine's Day.
March
The month started with Isaac's birthday and he came to Cardiff to celebrate it - and to move in! Soon after we discovered that I was pregnant. I didn't believe it at first (even after taking multiple pregnancy tests) but after a few weeks, I realised that the test definitely were correct.



April
This was a month of orange juice cravings and food aversions. I lived off of toast, salty chips, and fizzy gummy sweets. I continued to work at my job in a fried chicken shop which was working nights so that mixed with university in the day and pregnancy made me one tired girl.


May
This was my birthday month and finals month. I handed in my last ever uni assignments and we went on a family holiday with my parents and siblings to North Devon. Despite the fact that I still hadn't told my family that I was pregnant and I spent most of the time trying to hide it, it was a lovely time and the perfect celebration of turning 21.



June
This month we found out that we were expecting a girl. I also got my exam results back and attended my graduation ceremony. I felt really proud of myself for completing my course and for overcoming everything I had been through in those three years although I didn't quite get the grade I was hoping for. This was also the month we moved back to my parents' house in Devon.


July
This month was a relaxed one. We remained in Devon together at my parents' and went on lots of walks in the countryside. I craved McDonald's a lot and everything banana flavoured.



August
I spent most of this month in the bath - and we were still at my parents' house. We went to the beach a lot and explored the local area. We were also viewing house after house trying to find somewhere to move to.


September
This month, we decided to move to London. We wanted to experience something new and exciting - which it definitely would be after these months in the village. I also put a lot more work into my blog and Instagram. I wrote one post that I was especially proud of. And I got an infection and felt like I was about to die.



October
We made the move to Blackheath, London and I spent most of the time exploring Greenwich as well as Covent Garden where Isaac was working. I had a uni friend visit me which was lovely and I enjoyed the variety that London had to offer - although I was so heavily pregnant that leaving the house was an accomplishment in itself. By this point, I was very much ready for the baby to be born.



November
This is the month that Ava was born and a subsequent 5 days spent in the luxury of Lewisham Hospital. This month was full of changes and challenges but also was amazing to finally have Ava with us.



December
We decided to move back to Devon and were able to find a flat to spend Christmas together as a family of three. I also got to meet Isaac's family who came over to see Ava and celebrate the holidays with us.

I ordered the prints in the first picture from Printiki*. They print off the pictures you send them and it is very cheap and easy to do so. I absolutely love having physical copies of photos to hang up on the wall or display on my desk. Definitely worth checking out and I will be ordering more from them as I get more pictures of Ava as she grows up. I may even go the whole hog and get a photo album to put them all in. You can get free shipping with this code: N7E4W2Z4.

What did your 2017 look like?
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Sunday, 24 December 2017

Christmas Eve With Gemporia Christmas Candles*


Christmas is so close I can almost taste the pigs in blankets and mountains of stuffing. Father Christmas is busy loading up his sleigh (preferably with presents that are purring) and the reindeer are dusting off their hooves and/or shiny red nose in anticipation. Personally, I am sat watching The Snowman with a mince pie. Ava is next to me asleep in her car seat and I dare not wake her. I spent most of Christmas Eve organising things. Now I am an adult (apparently), I have to do stuff like washing bedding for guests who are visiting and making sure we have enough space for their luggage. But I managed to grab a couple of spare minutes to write a little something.

I thought I should take this opportunity to share with you some pretty awesome candles. They were sent to me by Gemporia and they contain 6 carats of real emerald. Swanky, right? They are packaged beautifully in little boxes and the candles themselves are incredible. I love the shiny, green packaging so much that the candles will be taking pride of place as the centrepiece of our Christmas dinner table. And, in all honesty, I won't be packing them away once the festive season is over.


These candles have such a gorgeous scent. They smell like real Christmas trees and the scent really fills the whole room. This is something I really look for in a candle. I like my candles to have that pow factor rather than just being a bit meh. They have made my living room smell so Christmassy and I love it. I'd be interested to see what the other scents are like.


But the best part of these candles is, of course, the gemstones. It is such a unique concept and they make the candles feel so much more special. I was delighted to recieve the emerald variety (very well branded, I must say) and the gems look so pretty with the light of the candle bouncing off of them. Also people say that emeralds bring about more intellectual understanding and open your mind to allow for more creativity and understanding of the world around you. Whether you believe that or not, it is definitely a nice concept.

Winter Spruce*
Winter Woodland*

So, I would love to hear how you are all spending your Christmas Eve and what you are most looking forward to this Christmas.

Happy holidays to all my lovely readers!
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Wednesday, 13 December 2017

The Recipe For A Perfect Night In*


As the days get shorter and the weather gets colder, I feel my inner grandma coming out in full force. From September 1st onwards, you can find me camped in the living room nestled under a huge blanket with my hair tied up in a messy bun, barefaced, and wearing my most comfortable pyjamas (which may or may not be Christmas themed and made of fleece). Until April, I only emerge to make cups of tea and renew my stash of sugary snacks. Going 'out out' is something alien to me in winter months - I mean, which club allows you to wear Christmas fleece PJs anyway? Because of this, I have become a seasoned professional of the whole cosy night in game. So, I have joined up with TV giants Panasonic to share with you the components of a perfect night in.

A 'cinema at home' set up
Everyone loves going to the cinema. I mean, the excitement of seeing a brand new film on a big, crisp screen whilst munching on popcorn is second to none. But going to the cinema takes effort - you have to put on a bra and actually leave the house. That's why I love the concept of a cinema at home set up. Dim the lights, make some popcorn (salted popcorn with chocolates mixed in is amazing), and fire up the big screen. I have had my eyes on the Panasonic HDR 4K TV lately. The display looks really crisp and clear with a real focus on showing great detail and depth of colour and tone. It is a slimline, widescreen TV and it looks really sleek and modern. Much better than trying to balance your laptop on your lap alongside all your snacks.

Enough snacks to feed an army
Snacks are a huge part of a night in. Whilst on a night out, you may indulge in an extra large doner kebab with garlic mayo but night in feasting is a whole other ballpark. Think Doritos stacked up like a mountain on a plate and smothered in salsa and cheese paired with wine (if you're fancy) or a coke float (if, like me, you're not). Nothing brings a group together like the communal thowing off of inhibitions and eating whatever you want. Pizza dipped in ketchup? Do it. Mixing sweet and salted popcorn? You animal, I love it. Melting marshmallow onto digestive biscuits in the microwave? You are a culinary genuis, my friend.


Great company
The majority of the films I watch are with a tiny baby who likes to give her own special commentary (which is difficult as she can only communicate through screams) but, back in my uni days, I loved watching the most embarassingly soppy films with my flatmates. Nights in are just made to be shared.

A movie marathon
Nothing says night in like committing yourself to watching every Harry Potter film in a single evening. Or dragging out the 90s and 00s classic girly movies and miming the key scenes just to make sure everyone knows you are the Cher Horowitz of the group. But my all-time favourite film series to watch is Bridget Jones. It is funny. It is romantic. It is an all-round feel good film. Heck, even my husband liked it.

Pampering
Whether your friends are staying over or you have just waved them goodbye, the perfect way to end a night in is with a bit of pampering. If your girls are staying over (which is advisable after all that rosé), get out the face masks, paint your nails, maybe play on your single friend's Tinder. If not, dive straight into that bath tub, chuck in a bath bomb, and maybe bring that big bar of Galaxy chocolate along to keep you company (yknow, just in case you get lonely in there..).

What are your favourite things to do on a night in?

This post was sponsored by Panasonic
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Sunday, 10 December 2017

Blogger Spotlight: Alice Rose from AliceRose.co


Alice Rose runs a blog called AliceRose.co and focuses mainly on beauty and lifestyle. My favourite posts of hers are her opinion posts - she isn't afraid to talk about anything from body confidence to politics. Also her beauty posts make me want to jump straight into the car and head to Boots with my bank card in hand.

What first got you interested in blogging?
I wanted a space to write what I wanted about whatever I wanted. I loved reading beauty and fashion blogs and had a lot of time on my hands once I graduated from university.

What tips would you give someone just starting out?
Start with whatever you have. Camera, editing software, props. Everyone starts somewhere and its better to learn as you go. And blogger chats. That's where I got my first followers and best blogging friends!

If you could only use one makeup brand for the rest of your life, which would you choose?
Charlotte Tilbury.

Do you think it is important for bloggers to share their political beliefs?
Absolutely. Even if you purely blog about beauty or food or fashion its still important to use your platform to at least encourage others to engage and care about the world and others.

What has been the best part of 2017?
I've had a bit of a tough year so I'm hoping the last 4 months are the best bit!

Where would be your dream holiday destination?
I really want to travel around India; My mother lived there for a short while and it would be my dream to spend a month or two there.

Name 3 of your favourite bloggers
coloursandcarousels.com - Charlotte blogs about so many different topics and she does really down to earth, watchable vlogs.
beautybythebunny.com - Angela's photography is just beautiful and I really trust her opinion.
shonalouise.com - Shona blogs about disability, lifestyle and beauty and its really opened my eyes to a lot of issues.

I hope you enjoyed reading Alice Rose's answers. Be sure to go and show her some love on her blog and all her social media channels!

Blog
Bloglovin
Insta
Twitter
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Saturday, 2 December 2017

Introducing Ava



On the 8th of November, my entire world changed. Exactly two weeks before my due date, I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. She weighed just 5lb 4oz and we decided to name her Ava Ruth Musinguzi.

It has almost been a month since Ava first arrived into this world and I feel like everything in my life has shifted and she is suddenly at the centre. She still doesn't appreciate how amazing sleep is and she has a scream so loud that I convinced the neighbours are one more fussy night away from calling child protection but when I hold her in my arms and she looks up at me, my heart feels like it could explode.


We have certainly had some struggles already. The labour was long and exhausting. It took 24 hours from the time my waters broke to when she was born - about 7 hours of which I was fully dilated. But, thankfully, she managed to fight her way out just before they wheeled me off for an emergency caesarean. The moment they put her in my arms was like no other. I remember gently poking her squidgy cheeks as she looked up at me and thinking that she was the most amazing thing that I had ever seen. We then spent the first 5 days of her life on the antenatal ward recovering. My husband was by my side throughout everything and was an absolute blessing. Thankfully now Ava is fit and healthy. She has a very good appetite and I can certainly vouch for her lungs being in excellent working order.

I am excited for the adventures our family of three are going to have. I love watching her grow and learn every day and I can't wait for us to share a life together. I feel incredibly lucky to be able to call her my daughter.

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Sunday, 19 November 2017

All The Random Things I'm Currently Loving


I always enjoy reading monthly favourite blog posts but I feel like writing them requires a certain level of organisation that I don't have. By the time I even think about writing a monthly favourites post, it is already half way into the next month. Also I am a creature of habit and tend to stick to the same products that I have been using since I was a preteen. So, instead of writing a monthly favourites post, I decided to write a post about all the random things that I have been enjoying lately - and I even managed to pick some things that aren't edible which is even more surprising.

Body Shop Matte Clay Skin Clarifying Foundation
Some of you may remember that a little while ago I wrote a post about making ethical consumer choices and how I wanted to start by swapping my go-to beauty products for cruelty free options. My foundation was one of the first things that I was keen to explore other options with as I had been repurchasing the same product for years so I was definitely ready for a change. I liked the matte finish of this foundation especially as it didn't appear cakey on my skin as many matte foundations do. It is a good medium coverage and blended really nicely. Also, as a pale girl, I was really excited that they had some good light shades and there were even shades for people with lighter skin than mine which is a revelation as I usually just have to go with the lightest shade and still end up looking orange.

B. Protected Anti-Pollution Primer
I started using this primer a few months ago because, admittedly, I misread the price and thought I was getting a really good deal (tip: make sure you are reading the price for the product you want to buy and not the one next to it on the shelf). Because I am a massively awkward person, I begrudgingly paid for this primer. Happily though, this primer actually turned out to be really good. I love the consistency as it is quite thick so you really feel like it is a creating a good base for your foundation. I haven't had issues with caking that I constantly used to get since I switched to this primer and, despite being a thicker formula than the products I was used to, it doesn't feel heavy on your skin. It blends well and creates a really nice base. I think I will even repurchase this product - on purpose this time!

Nivea Watermelon Shine
This is a product that I have been repurchasing for years and I had completely forgotten about until I found it sitting around in the back of my drawer. I love the watermelon scent of this lip balm and it gives a slight pinky-red finish to the lip but it is quite subtle which is what I look for in a lip colour. It is not intensely moisturising but a good product to use regularly as I find that products like Vaseline are overly moisturising on my lips and then my lips start getting chapped when I am not using them.

YSL Touche Eclat Glow Shot 
This product has been an absolute treat for me as I am very much someone who uses high street makeup products. My auntie very kindly bought me this when we went shopping together and I was beyond excited to use it. I loved the pink colour as I feel like it really complements my skin tone and the shine is glorious. I am still learning how best to apply this though as I am not used to using a highlighter that isn't a powder.

Superdrug Deodorant
Back on the cruelty free side of things, I recently tried out this deodorant and I was really impressed with it. I usually stick to brands like Sure but I haven't even noticed any difference since switching to this cheaper version - which is definitely a good thing. Why spend more on a non-cruelty free item when you can get just as good results with this?

Scope Charity Shop
This is a bit of a random one but I have been loving picking up some little bits and pieces for bubba from Scope. Of course their stock totally depends on donations but I always seem to find things that are in good condition and are reasonably priced in their shops.

Poundland
One great thing about having moved to London is that the Poundlands are much bigger here - thrilling, I know. I recently picked up the flowers and the notebook you see in the picture from Poundland and I find that they are the absolute best for cheap blog pic props and you can afford to change your props more regularly as it is just so affordable. Also their Halloween stuff is second to none.

New Look Houndstooth Scarf
I picked this scarf up from New Look because I was pretty unprepared for the temperature drop that has hit the UK recently and I felt like the blood in my veins was slowly turning to the consistency of a cherry Slush Puppy. I was impressed by the price and the cosiness but also because it was giving me Hannah Gale vibes and she is an absolute icon so it had to be purchased.


Greenwich Market
I may have mentioned my newfound love for Greenwich Market in my blog post about moving to London but I wanted to include it here as well. I am a huge market fan and have always loved going to places like Borough Market and Camden Market. Heck, even church fetes and jumble sales. If it has stalls, I am there. So, when I discovered Greenwich Market right on our doorstep, I was so excited and I have been there a fair few times already. I mean, there are some really good food stalls there and I am a hungry person with a lot of time of their hands.

What have you been loving lately?
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Sunday, 12 November 2017

Blogger Spotlight: Kelly from Maverick Baking


Starting us off on our Blogger Spotlight series, we have the lovely Kelly from Makerick Baking. She runs a blog about something very close to my heart - food! Just scrolling through her blog to create these questions had my mouth watering. She posts loads of tried and tested recipes and restaurant reviews as well. Her blog is definitely worth a follow and she even has a YouTube channel if you feel like having a bit of a bake-along with her or want to watch her review some chocolate (why don't more people do chocolate reviews?!). Kelly is an all-round good egg and definitely worth a follow!

What first got you into blogging?
I’d finally discovered that I had passion for something. I was baking once or twice a week and really wanted to start sharing pictures of my creations with my friends and others on social media. While a Facebook page was fine for a while, people were starting to think I was a business and didn’t really “get it”. So instead, I decided to jump right in at the deep end and start a self-hosted food blog, sharing my pictures and recipes for anyone out there to try! 


What advice would you give to someone starting a blog?

I’d tell them not to worry about trying to be perfect from day one. I’m not ashamed to say that I started my blog as a teenager, and had absolutely no idea what I was doing. My website design was terrible and my photos were worse. I didn’t know blogging was a viable hobby let alone a career! Ultimately, it’s your space, and you should feel free to post whatever you like, improvement comes with experience and time. 


Do you have an all-time favourite bake?

Now THAT is a tough question. I’d probably say that the bake I’m most proud of and enjoy making the most is my triple or quadruple chocolate brownies. They’ve taken years to perfect, and I can genuinely say (after eating hundreds of brownies from loads of places in my lifetime) that they are the best brownies I’ve ever had. 


How does Aberdeen compare to other parts of the UK?

It’s certainly very grey thanks to all the old granite buildings. Most people don’t think to visit here, as Glasgow and Edinburgh garner much of the attention of tourists in Scotland, however I think it is an underrated city. While we are nowhere near as bustling and cosmopolitan as larger cities, we have a lot of great quality local restaurants and businesses, and a very different attitude from other parts of Scotland. Hint: Glaswegians are much more friendly, and less cynical!


Have you had any major baking disasters?

Too many to name to be honest. I’ll give you a few painful examples. Many times, I’ve forgotten to grease a tin and lost an entire cake or batch of cookies that have welded themselves to the metal. I’ve also been known to find an entire cheesecake has dripped out of the bottom of the tin it was cooking in because I didn’t seal it tightly enough. As I never follow a recipe properly (hence the blog title) I have also found myself with many burnt, ugly or just plain bad bakes that were barely redeemable! 


What made you decide to start a YouTube channel?

I really like eating, I really like baking, and I really like talking, so it only felt right. There aren’t nearly enough Scottish voices on YouTube, and I felt I wanted to add to the small number with a channel that is both useful and entertaining.


What was your biggest achievement of 2017?

On the blog side, I saw a lot of growth and finally hit my first 1000 followers on a social media site. In my “real” life, I graduated from Aberdeen University with an upper second class honours Law degree, and that wasn’t easy!

Name 3 of your favourite bloggers:
·         Sally’s Baking Addiction – this lady is the undisputed Queen of US baking right now!
·         Chocolate Covered Katie – an unbelievably creative and unique cook, making healthified junk food.
·         Domestic Gothess – an alternative girl making beautiful food

I hope you enjoyed our first ever Blogger Spotlight. Keep your eyes peeled for the next one which should be up within the next week. Also be sure to go and show Kelly some love on her blog, YouTube, and social media channels!

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