Monday, 23 November 2015

CHRISTMAS AT HOUSING UNITS













Last night I very luckily attended Housing Units' first blogger event. For those of you who don't know what Housing Units is, it's essentially a huge department store that sells over 30,000 different products, set across three buildings in Failsworth, not too far from the centre of Manchester. Since opening their doors 65 years ago, Housing Units have prided themselves on their service standards and the lengths they go to to make each and every customer happy. I've been coming to Housing Units ever since I was younger and I can definitely vouch for the fact that their excellent customer service is a huge attribute to the department stores success.

Upon arrival we were greeted by the Housing Units restaurant staff where we were served some lovely drinks, the PR team and the store manager. We all sat down and had a catch up as I hadn't seen some of the other bloggers for a while! *sad face* After finishing our drinks we set out on a tour of the store, and with over 200,000 square feet of home furnishings and furniture to get through in a short space of time, we had to make it snappy! We were showed the different sections of the store, including a bit of background on each and the product highlights. I liked that the store manager was really knowledgeable of the store, it's history, it's products and it's customers, so he was able to provide us with lots of information on the way round.

Now if you know me even just a little bit, you'll know how much I love Christmas, so I was so happy to be shown around the Christmas section. (I'd actually already been when it first opened a few months ago but no amount is too much, right?!) We took some pictures at the Selfie Wall using some props and had a look around the many Christmas products they stock - I'll definitely be heading back to do some shopping! They even sell Cinnamon flavoured sticks for your Christmas tree - yum! After browsing around the second of the three Housing Units buildings, we were taken to see the main man himself, Father Christmas! At 21 it's been a good few years since I've last been in a Grotto, so we excitedly made our way down the queue and popped in to see good old St Nick. I think he was a bit surprised to see so many of us in such a tiny room! 

After saying our goodbyes and Merry Christmas' we headed back up to the Wickentree Restaurant where we were served an array of canapés and deserts to choose from; always a hit with us bloggers! The lovely people from Rumpus PR then ran a little competition of who could take the best Christmas Selfie and the most creative image and then handed us a gift bag each, complete with a personalised bauble! I had such a lovely time, and it was really interesting to learn a bit more about Housing Units after coming here for so many years. I'm pretty sure I'll be back there again soon for more Christmas goodies. Ho ho ho!

Friday, 20 November 2015

MAKEUP REVOLUTION ULTRA CONTOUR PALETTE





I was very late in joining the Makeup Revolution bandwagon, as you can see by my huge haul a couple of months ago. I don't really know what was holding me back from splurging, but I am glad I did! Their Ultra Contour Palette was something I'd heard great things about, so that was a must. On first impressions, I really liked the sleek, black packaging. It's made of a plastic-y material, which means that the inevitable 'make up all over the packaging' marks can be simply wiped away. The huge mirror inside is also a bonus. Come on, admit it, we can't sit at our dressing tables everyday, right? I'm a huge advocate of sitting on my bed with make up strewn around me using mirrors in palettes, so this is perfect.

Onto to the shades. I use the palest contour shade, which is second from the left, every morning and it's a perfect match for me. It isn't too orange or muddy, and is definitely easy to build up and blend out which means you can create the perfect contour for you.. Occasionally I'll venture to a darker shade if I'm creating a more daring look, and I still find the shade selection to be everything I need it to be. As for the highlighters, I don't really have a "go-to favourite". I kind of just swirl my brush into whichever shades I fancy at that moment in time (is that really bad?) and they all seem to do the job for me!

Despite having, one might say "too many", bronzers and contour shades, I definitely need this palette in my life. At £8, it works out that each contour and highlight shade cost only £1 each! One pound! How can you resist?

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

ESTÉE LAUDER DOUBLE WEAR LIGHT FOUNDATION IN 0.5


The hunt for the perfect pale foundation never ends. I thought I'd found "the one" in the Seventeen Stay Time Foundation, but after a while I wanted something new. I did my usual research online and came across so many people raving about Double Wear, so that weekend I went to my local Debenhams to try it out. Unfortunately they didn't have the palest shade of Double Wear (obviously the shade for me) available, but they did have intensity 0.5 in the Double Wear Light, so I very gratefully accepted a tester to try out over the next few days. On my first day of testing the foundation out, I was out on a day trip where the weather was it's usual self here in the UK and I promised myself that if it lasted well throughout the day, I would buy it. So, true to my word, I bought it!

I'm a huge fan of high coverage foundations; my skin is red in some places, paler in others with the persistent little buggers that are blemishes, I like to be able to cover everything up really well, so this is great for me. While it's not as thick as Double Wear, it still provides a high amount of coverage without feeling too heavy on the skin. It blends into the skin really easily, especially with a sponge (my fave is by Real Techniques!) though I would recommend applying a bit at a time so as not to try and blend too much at once. 

For me, the colour match still isn't spot on. I feel like it's a shade or two too dark with yellow undertones, but after spending almost £30 on it, I'm going to get my use out of it! It just means I have to work a little harder than usual to blend it all in, but it's worth it. My skin gets considerably dryer in the winter months, so I'm hoping that this foundation works well on dryer skin *keeps fingers crossed*. I really do like this foundation, but I would love it even more if a paler shade was released. Maybe a 0.25?! I'm on the hunt for a Double Wear tester to test out the two, so I will report back!

What are your opinions of Double Wear Light?

Monday, 2 November 2015

HIS AND HERS CHRISTMAS JUMPERS


Christmas is definitely my favourite time of year, and with Halloween out of the way it'll be here before we know it! The lights, the music, the food, the smells - everything is so lovely, I get such a warm and fuzzy feeling at this time of year. I'll let you in on a secret: I'm already playing Christmas songs in my car! I love getting all snug and wrapping up as the months get colder, so I jumped at the chance to work with Matalan on their Christmas jumper campaign.

Now it's probably no surprise to most of you that I love cats. So how could I resist this jazzy number? Not too thick so that I feel like I'm suffocating under multiple layers, but not too thin so that I can't get all cosy, it's perfect. I really like that it's a modern take on a Christmas jumper; don't get me wrong, I'm all for garish fairy light adorned jumpers, but I quite like the simplicity of this one.

Similarly, my boyfriend loved the fact that jumper gives a sophisticated nod to Christmas without jumping down your throat about it. The polar bear print is not only perfect for the (hopefully) snowy season, it's also classic enough to be pulled out of the wardrobe on more than one occasion!

If you're on the hunt for a new festive jumper, look no further than Matalan. Armed with a huge selection, there's a jumper for everyone (there's even one with a pug on!) What's your favourite thing about Christmas?


*This post is in collaboration with Matalan, though all thoughts and opinions are my own

Friday, 23 October 2015

AW 2015 FASHION WISHLIST



Autumn and Winter and definitely my favourite seasons, without a shadow of a doubt. I love that you can layer up your clothes, wear the cutest colours and wrap up and get all snug. Shopping for new clothes around this time of year is the best, so I thought I'd round up the top picks on my AW 2015 wishlist! (If you haven't already noticed, I love black, grey and white...)

Knee high boots are fast becoming my favourite style of shoe to wear. They're comfy, practical and on trend; what more could you want? These boots from Jones* are such a gorgeous colour, and would make a nice change from my usual black. The heel is also perfect for those of us who are lacking in height! I think that wearing this style of boot will pull together any outfit making it look cleaner and more modern, while still being flexible enough for an everyday outfit.

I seem to become quite a coat hoarder these past few months, so I couldn't resist adding another to my wishlist. I'm in love with this boyfriend style slim coat from Topshop. It's nice and simple but also really classy!  Black ankle boots are a wardrobe staple for any style, so of course there's a pair on my wishlist. These ones are only £38 from ASOS!

Can we just take a minute to appreciate this cat pom pom key ring?! I love cats, if you didn't already know, and this cutie has a striking resemblance to my little black kitty Pepper. How could I resist? Jumpers are a must for me during these colder months, and I am totally partial to a longer lined hem. The tweed print on this jumper from ASOS is super cute. The last item I am coveting is this gorgeous Suede Tassel Hobo Bag from Topshop. Actually, I don't just want it, I need it! I think it's such a timeless piece while still being bang on trend, and who could ever have enough handbags?

What's on your wishlist for the rest of the year?!



*This post was created in collaboration with Jones Bootmaker, but all opinions are my own

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

MY NEW FAVOURITE MOISTURISER BY OILATUM



As the months get colder, my skin gets drier. Though every year I know this is going to happen, I still haven't found the perfect moisturiser. As much as I love my Origins Overnight Intensive Mask, it was time to try something new. I had a quick search of my favourite blogs and came across this beauty. Oilatum is a brand I'd heard of before, but never would it have crossed my mind when thinking of buying a new moisturiser. I picked it up from Boots for around £5 and thought it was worth a try. Well, well, well, how very glad I am! Since using this moisturiser I've noticed that my skin feels plumper and looks more glowy, a far cry from all those days my skin felt tight and sore. Don't get me wrong, I do still get drier patches at the end of the day, but no where near the state it used to be in. I've also noticed that my skin feels 'repaired', as the name suggets. The redness and blemishes have decreased and overall my skin just looks healthy! I can't believe the Oilatum Natural Repair Moisturiser has been right under my nose all this time!

Monday, 14 September 2015

HUGE MAKEUP REVOLUTION HAUL



A couple of weeks ago I decided that it was about time that I tried out a few things from Makeup Revolution after hearing so many positive things about it. When I say a few things, really I mean that I went a little crazy. I'd be wanting to try out the Ultra Contour Palette for a long time after hearing about the good quality and high pigmentation so this was a must. Similarly, Iconic 1 has been well raved about around the blogosphere, with comparisons to Naked 1 so I had to get my hands on it. I've been after some new makeup brushes for a while now but I just can't decide which to buy, so I decided to pick up a couple from Makeup Revolution to satisfy my makeup brush craving for a while longer.I picked up the 105 Contour Brush, the 102 Eyeshadow Contour Brush and the 103 Eyeshadow Blending Brush. I've actually heard off an MUA friend that their brushes are actually really good quality and are amazing at applying makeup! As much as I love my Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade, I'm always on the hunt for the next must have brow product, so I decided to pick up the Brow Dual Ultra Brow Arch & Shape in the shade medium. With a crayon style tip at one end, and a felt tip style at the other, it looked like a really interesting product! I also chose a Mono Eyeshadow in the shade Pure, as it looked like the perfect all over lid or crease shade. To keep all my new lovely eyeshadows in place, I picked up the Focus & Fix Eye Primer Original. I decided to try out the Pro Fix Makeup Fixing Spray too after hearing how much people rave about fixing sprays! If you know me personally, you'll know how much I love liquid eyeliner, so it was a no brainer that I bought the Awesome Double Flick Thick and Thin. WIll it be a rival for my beloved L'Oreal liner?! I also picked up two of the All Day and Night Eyeliners in Dangerous Games and Channeling My Inner; I'm so excited to start creating some looks with these, I haven't used coloured eyelines in a while!

Along with these beauty gems, Makeup Revolution also had an amazing offer: spend £30 and receive £30 worth of products free! I received two more of their coveted eyeshadow palettes, a much loved The One Blush Stick, a couple of their ultra creamy I Love Makeup lipsticks, a lip cream and a couple more eyeshadows. I can't wait to start using it all! What are your must have Makeup Revolution products?

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

10 TIPS FOR BECOMING A MORNING PERSON


Lately I've been really into learning how to improve my life and wellbeing, not only physically but mentally too. Along with my planned health and fitness overhaul, I want to make my mental health and state better too. That's when I came across Robin Sharma, an international bestselling author who specialises in leadership. Now I know that might sound a little different to what I was actually looking for, but it's there that I found out about the 5am club. Basically, you wake up at 5am and use that hour before most other people wake up to be super productive, be it exercise, planning or learning. Now 5am sounds hella early, and I cringe at the thought of rolling out of bed at that time, but I do want to start training myself to get up earlier and without the effort it takes now. So, I looked into how to become a morning person and here are my favourite tips!

1. Get enough sleep. Pretty obvious huh? Suprising that most of us don't then. Seven to nine hours of sleep are recommended each night, and without that we're missing out on all the fab benefits of sleep! A good sleep is linked to improved memory, a better metabolism and weight, heightened mood and concentration and even lower blood pressure and stress levels. So after all that, why wouldn't you get a good kip? 

2. Keep your evenings clear. It's hard to refrain from crossing those last few bits off your to-do list, but if they aren't super duper important, then just don't. Take an hour out of your day in the evenings to just be and wind down. During this time you can create a routine to help prepare your mind and body to understand that evening is time to get ready to sleep.

3. Get prepared. Lay out your clothes, sort your bag out and make your lunches the night before so that in the morning you're good to go. That way, you also don't forget anything! Feeling rushed in the morning is the worst thing and can set you up for a funny old day.

4. Eat yourself awake. Ok so that sounds a little weird... but stick with me. As you've heard off your parents and grandparents probably your whole life, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It's important to kickstart your day and your metabolism with a healthy breakfast and some water. Up the protein in the mornings and reap the benefits all day long.

5. Invite light indoors. Your brain is pretty sensitive to the light and to temperature, which means that even on those lazy days where you're feeling desperate for some sleep, it can be pretty difficult to get a good sleep in the middle of the day. With light being one of the most powerful things to force your body awake. it's a must in your morning routine to help you wake up easier. Sleep with no blinds on your window, or with sheer curtains, or if you don't like that idea you can invest in a special Wake Up Light.

6. Get energized. Once you're awake, get moving straight away. Lounging in bed for those few extra minutes might feel precious, but you're just letting that groggy feeling sink in. Get some music on, walk into another room, brush your teeth, dance if you have to, just do something!

7. Hydrate. You know that dry mouth feeling? Your body feels it too. After a long night's sleep, your body can be dehydrated. Sleep with some water next to your bed and take a big gulp as soon as you get up to help wake up your muscles and organs.

8. Stretch. You've been lying down all night, in a pretty sedentary position. Take a few minutes to do some stretches in the morning to help prepare your body for the day ahead. Add a bit of meditation in there for a truly powerful morning routine.

9. Have a positive outlook. Start your morning with a motivational quote or a positive affirmation. Even saying "today is a great day" to yourself will kick start your day in a positive way and will help you feel much more motivated and ready to take on whatever the day may bring.

10. Reward yourself. I know how tough that struggle can be when your alarm starts screeching in the mornings, but you've done it! You're up and out of bed. Now it's time to reward yourself. Take advantage of the extra time you now have and read that chapter of that book you're struggling to put down, do some exercise, meditate, induldge in a good cup of coffee, whatver it is that you love to do it, spend your spare time doing it.

I hope these tips are of some use to you, and I'll definitely be putting these in place to help me on my journey to joining the 5am club! How do you make your mornings that bit easier?


Monday, 7 September 2015

URBAN DECAY NAKED SMOKY

I try to resist buying things that I really don't need, or those that I want purely because everybody else is talking about them, but Naked Smoky was different. I uhhmed and ahhed for a week or so after it's release debating should I/shouldn't I, but I just couldn't not buy it! While Naked is too warm for me, and I don't think the shades in Naked 3 would suit me, Naked 2 was my go to palette. I prefer darker, smokier colours and so of course, it made perfect sense to get my hands on Naked Smoky.

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The packaging is made out of a study plastic which, while I can't comment on Naked or Naked 3, it definitely feels more durable than Naked 2. It also features a smoky swirl design which makes for a very distinctive look. The palette also comes with a small step by step guide on how to create a couple of looks which is really handy if you're a bit if a smokey eye novice like me! The brush included in the palette is also super soft and useful for once; not like those daft little spongy applicators circa 2003!

The palette is packed with 12 sultry and smoky neutrals, from mattes and satins to shimmers, including nine never before seen shades and three that are exclusive to the palette. Shades, left to right, include: High (cream shimmer with micro-glitter), Dirtysweet (medium bronze), Radar (metallic taupe with iridescent micro-glitter), Armor (metallic silver-taupe with tonal sparkle), Slanted (light metallic grey), Dagger (medium charcoal with micro-shimmer), Black Market (jet black satin), Smolder (deep plum-taupe), Password (cool taupe matte), Whiskey (rich brown matte), Combust (soft pink taupe) and Thirteen (light begie satin). You can always rely on Urban Decay shadows to be nice and buttery and for them to blend seamlessly onto your lids. While some of the mattes are a little chalky, the quality is just as you'd expect. The colour payoff is immense, with very minimal fallout from a couple of the darker shades. While I don't particularly enjoy wearing warmer colours, I do like that Naked Smoky encompasses both cool and warm, something that has divided previous palettes. so I can choose to try out a couple of the warmer shades if I feel like it. 

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Please excuse the sorry state of Naked 2, but I love him and use him everyday so I'm sure I can be forgiven! I just thought I'd do a little comparison shot for those of you who can't quite decide which palette to buy. Now, unfortunately this probably isn't much help as really, they're both pretty different! While some of the shades are a little similar, I can definitely justify owning both. 

£38 does sound like quite a bit of money for an eyeshadow palette, but it is such a good investment and actually works out at just over £3 per eyeshadow. Who can resist? I can deifnitely see Naked Smoky fast becoming my favourite eyeshadow palette (sorry Naked 2 and Basics!) and am looking forward to trying out all the different looks this palette has to offer!

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

A WEEKEND COUNTRY WALK



As much I enjoy shopping for makeup and clothes, sometimes I love taking a break from it all and spending some time in the countryside. This weekend, me and my boyfriend decided to drive up to Hyde in Manchester for a Country Walk, walking routes created in the countryside nearby to Chef & Brewer pubs. I came across these after a friend shared a post online and I knew that it was the perfect way for me and George to spend some time together while getting in some (much needed in my case) exercise and then ruining it all with some good pub grub.

After getting a little lost at first, because Google Maps is never quite accurate, we pulled up in the car park and I immediately noticed the views. The walk starts off overlooking Cheshire as you make your way down through fields and small valleys. Luckily, we went on a fairly nice day so the views were beautiful. I often forget how close I live to the countryside, after spending so much time in the city! 








After working up an appetite, we made our way back to the Hare and Hounds pub, which even from just the outside I knew I was going to love. The interior was a combination of a traditional farmhouse feel with exposed beams and other old-fashioned ornaments, and modern day chic. The wine bottles with Christmas hats got a huge thumbs up from me - it's September now, surely the countdown to Christmas is on?! There was lots of food to choose from, including a 1940s inspired menu! I went for the Cod Finger Sandwich while George opted for the good old pie. I loved the cosy and comfy feel of the Hare and Hounds, and the little extra touches which made it that bit more than just another pub.

I really enjoyed doing something different with my weekend (though inevitably, I did end up shopping...) and would definitely like to try out a few more of the Country Walks. This post ins't sponsored, I genuinely enjoyed myself and thought I'd share this with you all in case any of you fancied a nice walk this weekend! There are lots of Chef & Brewer pubs around the UK that are part of the Country Walk programme so check them out here. Where are your favourite places to spend your weekend?

Monday, 3 August 2015

OOTD: HIS AND HERS DATE NIGHT

I often forget how long my boyfriend and I have been together now. It's coming up to four years; we met when he was 18 and I 17. In the first few months of our relationship we'd get so excited doing the simplest of things: going for a coffee and making it last hours just so we could sit and chat, walking around Manchester shopping only for bits and pieces because neither of us earned much from our part time jobs. Almost four years on, both with our own full time jobs, a car each and having changed considerably, one thing that hasn't changed is how much we enjoy spending time together.





I still get excited planning romantic meals, days out, weekends away or even trips to the cinema. However it must be said that more often than not it is just trips to the cinema because of how busy the both of us are. When Matalan contacted me asking if I'd like to take part in their His and Hers campaign, I thought it'd be the perfect opportunity to arrange a date night!

I fell in love with the gypsy blouse as soon as I saw it. I'd wanted something like this for a while now and think it's a beautiful piece with an appreciative nod to 70s fashion. Similarly with the floppy hat, it's a summer staple that adds a little something to an otherwise casual outfit. Paired with the checked cape, it takes the look from lazy Summer afternoons to cosy Autumn evenings. The collarless white shirt is a male wardrobe essential that can carry him through from season to season, and this Harrington jacket is a must have. George loves it and I can see it becoming a firm favourite!

* These items were sent to be in exchange for consideration on my blog - all opinions are my own

Thursday, 30 July 2015

RELAXATION THROUGH COLOURING

Every now and then a new craze emerges, and more often than not I'm a little dubious. When colouring books for adults exploded all over my social media feeds, I first thought "Here we go again!" and didn't really give it a second thought. But more and more posts kept appearing and eventually I gave in. I'd read that colouring can help to relieve stress and anxiety, and having tried various other methods to reduce my anxiety I thought why not? One quick Amazon search later, I discovered Animal Kingdom by Mille Marotta and it went straight in my basket along with some brand new colouring pencils. I have to admit, it all does feel a little childish, I mean I haven't coloured in since I was very young but I was intrigued. Boy, am I glad I decided to give it a go!

As soon as the book and pencils arrived I couldn't wait to get stuck in. I took my time colouring in the intricate animals and patterns trying a little too hard to stay within the lines, and have to say that it really did make me feel relaxed and content. As you're really concentrating on the colouring, it means you aren't sat dwelling on all the "what-if's" and other negative thoughts which I found a welcome break. I can imagine that in a stressful situation this would be a great help. Have you tried any adult colouring books?



Tuesday, 28 July 2015

I AM VERY BUSY: MY NEW FAVOURITE PLANNER


Hi I'm Amy and I have an obsession with stationery. Pens, pencils, notebooks, cute post it notes, stickers, you name it, I love it! I came across this planner a couple of weeks ago and there was no way I couldn't buy it. This is the I Am Very Busy by Bando, but sold through Mod Dolly. It's sold out at the moment but hopefully it will be back in stock soon! It's 17 months which is really useful, as it starts in late July through to December 2016. The planner has a small section in the front for your name and a couple of contact details if you like to put them in and a sheet of really cute stickers.  have to say that the planner is a little "teen-y", especially with the 'Bando Girl' secret code they have, but I can definitely look past this due to how lovely the rest of this is! There is a year on one page overview of both 2016 and 2017, month on two pages with a small note section and then week on two pages. I love that you can organise your day to day goings in either of the three sections. I like to use the month on two pages to highlight when my bills and direct debits have to come out (all the exciting stuff) and then I write my day to day tasks in the week on two pages section.Throughout the planner there are loads of lovely additions, like the 'reasons to party pages' and the notes pages which make it even easier to stay organised, along with a document slot on the inside back page.

At the beginning of each month there are super cool illustrations and quotes, with colour coded month tabs so you can flick through easily. My favourite thing about the planner, aside from it's basic planner qualities of course, is that it is so colorful and fun. I think this makes you even more motivated to use it to it's full capability. It's a really handy size too with it being A5, meaning you can carry it around with you in your handbag without taking up too much room. It's also a hardback planner making it nice and sturdy and less likely to get damaged. At £16 it's not the cheapest of planners, nor the most expensive, but it's got everything I need. I've just started a 12 month marketing placement and this is going to be the perfect thing to keep me on top of everything that will be going on!