December Favourites

December has been an awesome month even without all the exciting festivities of Christmas. There's been plenty of stuff I've been loving so lets get into it!

Olympus Pen E-LP7
First off, my new camera. I've fallen madly in love with this wonderful piece of kit and I've definitely noticed an improvement in my photo quality and an astounding improvement to video quality which was the main reason for investing in an Olympus Pen. Its lovely and easy to use and is a great size for popping into your bag for days out or travelling. I just need a case for it now!

Carmex Lip balm - Cherry 
I've raved about lip balms on my blog plenty of times and I'm always on the look out for new ones to try. This month however, my lips have been destroyed by the cold and forgetting my lip balm for even a day makes them 10x worse. I picked up a cherry flavoured lip balm from Superdrug as it was on offer and I remember using Carmex a few years ago and it doing wonders for my lips. This one is great because you don't need a finger to apply (hate those ones!) and you can give a generous layer without feeling caked up or sticky. It also tastes great!

Spiced Apple Hand Cream - The Body Shop
A friend at work had this hand cream and no word of a lie, it fills the room with the most wonderful Christmassy scent and smells good enough to eat! It smells like a cinnamon topped apple pie and its so nourishing on my dry hands that it improved them from the first use. Its also only £4 a tube which I think is very reasonable…I'm just dying to try the Frosted Berries scent now!

How could I not add our new bundle of joy, Vespa. Vespa joined our family at the start of the month and he's been doing incredibly well. His first couple of days were a little unsettled but he soon cracked on and he's been a good sport. You can read his full intro post here :)

Urban Decay Naked Skin Foundation
I recently broke up with Mac and converted to Urban Decay and although the Urban Decay foundations are a little more expensive for the same amount of product, I'm never going back. The artist at the counter in the Leicester Debenhams store sorted me right out and matched me up with the 1.0 shade and its perfect for my skin tone. Its also extremely build-able so you can control how much coverage you get which is great for everyday use or achieving more of a 'going out' look. It also doesn't dry my skin out at all which I love and I'm chuffed to bits that I finally made the plunge to get some of this. 

I was sent these speakers to review and you can read my full post on them here, but these have followed me everywhere whilst I've been off work. I love taking them into the kitchen whilst making dinner and having a good old blast. These speakers may be tiny, but they're very powerful and better yet, easy to use and connect to your devices. 

Reasons To Stay Alive by Matt Haig
I've read a few self help style books before and have never felt so attached as I do with this one. Matt talks about his memoirs of depression and anxiety but also provides many facts and suggestions to work with. I'd seen this book raved about online and finally got round to buying my own copy and although I'm only half way through, I've found it hard to put down and Matt's style of writing is easy to read and understand. I'd definitely recommend this to anyone suffering with their mental health and hope you appreciate it as much as I do.

Plastic Hair Bands - H&M
I'd been after some of these for a while and just didn't notice any in the shops until I went into H&M and I've noticed such a difference in how much these stop your hair from tangling up and also, its a piece of piss getting them out. Sometimes, my hair tends to almost eat hairbobbles and getting them out involves a lot of my hair falling out with them. That doesn't happen with these and I'm going to carry on using them until they're a discontinued accessory. Please don't let this be a fashion craze...I genuinely find them more practical and gentle on my hair.

So thats a wrap for 2016 and I tell you what, monthly favourites are some of my favourite posts to share. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and wishing you a very happy New Year!

Thanks for reading,


The 2016 Recap

This year has been crazy. I feel that every year that goes by I think it was my best yet and sometimes the very worst things that happen can't stop it from being so positive so I thought I'd recap over the past few months. Its gonna be a long one, so grab a coffee and lets get cracking.

My year started out pretty crap. My Grandad's cancer took a turn for the worse and we lost him in February. I no longer have any Grandad's and this has been hard for me to deal with. I know some people never met their grandparents or have lost all of them so I won't go into it too much, but I think this contributed to my health meltdown which I'll go into shortly.

In March I married the love of my life, my moon and stars. The person I've loved since I was 16 and who keeps me safe and protected. We were friends back at school and from the second I saw him, no one ever came close to how he made me feel. We drifted after Sixth Form and went our own ways for a while but ended up colliding back together in 2014 and I couldn't be happier. He's my best friend, my family and everything I'll ever need. We went on our honeymoon to Dublin as each of us wanted to visit Ireland, we stayed in a beautiful hotel called Clontarf Castle and explored the big city for a few days which was a tick off the bucket list!

When we returned from Dublin, my mental health plummeted and I can only guess this was because the reality of loosing Grandad which was probably masked by the focus of the wedding, smacked me right between the eyes and I had what I can only describe as a mental health meltdown. I sought help, first from my GP then from my Occupational Health at work before seeing a psychiatrist. I won't go into it too much now, but if you want to read the post you can here. I also had my first blood test during this time to rule out any underlying problems and discovered I have a Vitamin D deficiency, nothing major. I was also put on Mirtazapine, a drug which I will never touch ever again. It made me gain a stone in weight which made me very self conscious. Standing at just 5 ft 1, a stone makes it look like a hell of a lot more and I was miserable for it.

In June, I started my YouTube channel. This is something I had wanted to do for years and years but never had the confidence. I think feeling as though I'd hit rock bottom inside my head made me feel like I had nothing to loose and I'm so very pleased I finally managed to push myself into it. I have enjoyed making videos since day one, despite its challenges and I've even gone over my end of year goal which was to reach 100 subscribers. Seeing my confidence grow has been wonderful and its one of my biggest ever achievements. James and I also went camping at the end of June for a little break with Custard and although it rained the entire time, we really enjoyed ourselves and made of it what we could.

July was rather quiet until the very end, when I was doing the washing up and managed to slice through a tendon in my hand. This went undiagnosed for a week before I had my first ever surgery on the 2nd August to fix my hand and I then spent a lot of time watching Netflix, Youtubing and blogging. I'm still struggling with the strength and movement of my hand now but at least its working and I'm managing. In a very funny way, this gave me the time my body and head needed to relax, take a break and do nothing but unwind for the next 2 and a half months.

In August we also started looking for a house to buy and this has been such a lengthy process. We were interested in one house which we went for and ended up pulling out a few weeks into it because of the awful homebuyers report. Then we decided to stay put in our little flat a while longer but then our dream house came on the market and we pounced. We put our offer in at the end of September and as of yet, we still haven't moved. We signed the contracts mid November and we really thought we were ready to go and would be in for Christmas, but delays with other people in our chain stopped this from happening. It looks as though we won't be moving until the end of January, but its given us some extra time to save up for some nice things to fill our new home with. 

In September I went to my first blogger event which was the Lush Christmas Launch and I had such a lovely time. As of yet, we still only have a shower due to not moving house to a bath tub but I do have a right stash of bath bombs going on which I'm so excited to use. I also got myself a new tattoo in September and the addiction is too real guys. 

Then in December, we gained a new member of our little family. An opportunity arose to home another dog and I'm so very proud and chuffed to bits to have given him a home with us. His name is Vespa and he's a Yorkshire Terrier, full of personality and he has a character I fell madly in love with as soon as I met him back in April 2014. He's had a tough time settling in and has a bit of separation anxiety going on but nothing we can't help him to combat. 

Its been a crazy year and so much has gone on. Its a shame we couldn't have moved into our new house ready for Christmas but we're lucky to have a roof over our heads and be together so we're over that disappointment. It'll just make it all the more special when we do eventually move. 

Thanks for reading and Happy New Year!

Ellis x

Buying A House

This year has been the most serious of my life and buying a house has put the cherry on top of an enormous cake. Although this is a very positive thing and we're very excited to finally have our first proper home to call our own, the stress and anxiety triggers it came with were insane. So if you're interested in buying a property or just fancy having a mooch over our experience, grab a cuppa and the biscuit tin cause its gonna be a long one!

No one tells you how to buy a house. Its not something you're taught at school and unless you have an interest in the property ladder, solicitors or estate agents, you don't ever really find yourself researching what to do until the time comes to actually do it. Before you know it, you're suckered into the big scary world of money, mortgages and contracts and its something I wanted to talk about and hopefully, teach people what I didn't know before. 

1. Identify a mortgage advisor
This was the very first step for us and this helped us determine how much of a deposit we would need and also how much money we could borrow based on our earnings. Ours taught us a little bit about lenders and requirements they ask for which also gave us some much needed confidence before plunging into viewing houses. 

2. Start viewing properties
When you know how much money you can borrow, you can start viewing properties within your price range and when you see one you'd like, you can put an offer in. Bartering is an important part of the money side of things and we were always advised to drop a few grand off the actual asking price and go from there. If your offer is accepted, then you can move onto the next step. This is one of the frustrating parts because its all tense and waiting around for people to get back to you and you don't know which way things could go.

3. Identify solicitors and get quotes 
Once your offer has been accepted, you need to identify a solicitors and get some quotes from them for the work they'll be doing for you. We shopped around for solicitors and we found this to be really useful as sometimes solicitors will try and mug you off with a crazy quote. Also check the totals they give you; we actually had a quote that stated it was £800 more expensive than the total added up to so its important to check this and know exactly what you're paying them for. Meanwhile, our mortgage advisor submitted our application which also including providing bank statements, pay slips, utility bills, proof of address, passports and other bits and pieces. Your solicitors will then liaise with the sellers solicitors who will take it from there.

4. House valuations
This is something you'll need to organise to get someone in to value the property you're wanting to buy so they can make sure the place has no nasty surprises and shouldn't be condemned. Apparently there are three types of valuation, a basic, a homebuyers and a ridiculously thorough one. Many people advised us to go for the homebuyers one because it covered all the important bits without the hefty bill of the more thorough evaluation.

5. Badgering people
These processes always take quite a while unless you're lucky but even then, its rare to move into a place when your buying any sooner than six weeks from an offer being accepted. Estate events and solicitors will drag things out and sometimes it seems like they're doing nothing at all and forgotten about you. This isn't the case but theres absolutely no harm in phoning them a couple of times a week for updates on the process and it also gives you an idea of timings and where you stand. 

7. Signing and Completion
Once the entire chain have had their searches and valuations done  on their properties, the solicitors will get their clients in to sign contracts and then they'll be exchanged. We're at the very end now and about to exchange after a very long winded process. We started in August and were supposed to move in for Christmas but searches got delayed and before you know it, another month has gone by.

We found a house pretty soon after we started looking and went for it. We got pretty damn excited and everything was going ahead, until we had the homebuyers report back. The house we wanted had many hidden things wrong with it and we're not in a position to start spending lots of money on somewhere. We pulled out and lay low for a couple more weeks before I sneakily arranged a viewing on our dream house that we'd seen. We went to view it and fell even more in love, put an offer in and the process started again. This time it felt much smoother but having said that, we'd gained a bit of experience from the first property.

Something I will mention is be prepared for mortgage lenders to really question who you are. For the first house, the lenders had issues with James' payslips and for the second house, nothing I showed convinced them I was who I said I was or that my address was correct. Bank statements, payslips, driving license, utility bills you name it. Apparently I was not Ellis Woolley. Its all very scary and you feel so interrogated especially when it comes to money and how much you have.

Now all of that is out of the way we can focus on the exciting things like decorating and shopping for home wares but I can't tell you how nervous this whole process made me feel and how glad I am to have it just about over with. We're very grateful we've been able to buy a house and we saved very hard together to be able to do this. You can expect plenty of little haul posts and vlogs to follow and I can't wait to show you guys our new place!

Thankyou so much for reading!

Ellis x

Jilly Jilly Review

I recently placed my first order with Jilly Jilly after finding their shop on Etsy and Instagram. Jilly and her husband David run their little business from their lovely home in Falkland (UK) and create a wonderful range of cute giftware. I couldn't resist placing an order for a couple of Christmas pressies for family so since these were gifts, I refrained from posting until after Christmas so nothing was accidentally spoilt!

After seeing their adorable postie packaging on Instagram, I was so excited to see what mine would look like and I squealed when I found this on the post rack downstairs! How sweet is the gingham print washi tape? Everything about this little parcel is so personal and filled with love and care it makes my heart melt.

I grabbed a couple of pocket mirrors - one for my Mum and one for Jame's Mum and I'll be honest, choosing the designs was difficult because each of them is just so cute! Jilly also sprinkled in some star confetti and a sweet treat chocolate coin which was very festive and a lovely extra touch. The badges are also adorable and perfect for any badge collector. The colours are so soft and pretty…they've inspired me to purchase a cork board to start getting creative with!

The dispatch time was extremely quick even at this ridiculously busy time of year and my little box arrived wrapped up tightly and well protected so everything inside remained perfect. Each product is sturdy and well made; what I really love is you can totally see how much effort and care Jilly and David put into their work. I believe you also get a cheeky discount when you sign up to Jilly Jilly's newsletter which I foolishly forgot to apply but regardless, their prices are extremely reasonable and the entire range make wonderful gifts. There's also nothing nicer than supporting a small business, especially at this time of year! 

Thanks for reading!

Ellis x

Christmas Eve

It's currently Christmas Eve night and I'm snuggled between my two furry little elves watching Stardust whilst sipping on a Magic Star hot chocolate and raiding the Sass and Belle website. James has nipped for some last minute Christmas drinks with some friends after we played a few rounds of cards, drinking loose leaf green tea and watching the last half of the Chamber of Secrets. I can't remember the last time I was this content and also relaxed with being on my own for the evening. Having the dogs definitely helps with my anxiety and I guess the Christmas spirit has finally taken hold of me. Better late than never!

This week my blog reached its one year anniversary and I've been reflecting on all of the opportunities that were in store for me over 2016. What a crazy year its been. I'm super proud of my little blog and everything I've achieved with it over these past 12 months so I can't help but feel ridiculously excited for 2017. I've worked with some awesome brands, learnt so many lessons, my writing has improved which I would also now consider to be a skill and I've really got back into photography again.

The frustration of buying a house and moving house has for tonight, turned into an appreciation of our little flat and our time here together. Its not perfect, but its been our home for nearly 3 years and I've lived here longer than anywhere else since leaving home at 19. It also looks pretty damn magical right now with the fairy lights twinkling and all the beautiful wrapping paper glistening away. 

Tomorrow we're off to my Dads for Christmas, something I haven't done for a few years and I'm so excited to have some proper family time with him. We have whiskey and Walnut Whips at hand and I'll also be attempting some veggie pigs in blankets in the morning. God knows how thats going to go but I'm hopeful! 

Anyway, I hope you're all ready for tomorrow and wishing you a very Happy Christmas. Stay safe, have fun and be merry :)

Much love,

Ellis x

Meet Vespa

Its been two weeks since I bought Vespa home for Christmas and I thought I would give him some time to settle in before introducing him on my blog. That might sound silly, but we've encountered a few problems over the past fortnight that I wanted to tackle, collate information and then share my tips and advice here based on our experiences.

So meet Vespa, our latest family member. He's a 4 year old Yorkshire Terrier and he came home to us on the 7th December, just in time to settle in for Christmas. At first, Vespa wasn't too fond of Custard, our female Miniature Schnauzer. She has been incredibly welcoming with him and allowed him to familiarise himself with the house, she's shared her toys, blankets and of course humans. Custard is without a doubt the softest, most gentle dog I've ever known and Vespa has progressed so quickly and positively under her wing. Two weeks down the line, he follows her everywhere, is much more confident in the house and its very obvious he watches her for support and encouragement. 

Then there is the messing in the house problem. Male dogs tend to pee a lot more than females and we currently live in a flat. Its doable as we've worked really hard on helping Custard to understand not to drop her ass indoors, but house training when you live in a flat is quite difficult. Vespa has had a handful of accidents which is understandable and we've found it frustrating considering we're currently living out of boxes due to moving house soon. This has got better over time and he's already beginning to understand that he is to pee and poop outside. We take them both out A LOT throughout the day to encourage this and they get lots of praise when they do it in the garden.

Next…separation anxiety. You can probably imagine the disheartening, anxious feelings I experienced last week when I came home to a note taped to my front door explaining that Vespa had been barking none stop for 4 hours whilst I was out with a friend. It wasn't a nasty note in the slightest, just a concerned neighbour wanting to let us know our dog was suffering with being left alone. I'm not a professional dog trainer or behaviourist by any means, but working with dogs for the past 4 years has taught me a couple of things I thought some of you may find useful. I always leave a radio or playlist on for our two and Custard in particular likes watching films. I know it may seem like a lot of effort to go to for your pets, but its more effective than pandering to them when they're anxious as this can just reinforce the behaviour that we don't want to see happening. The music just acts as a comforting white noise, so they're not entirely alone in the silence. Luckily our lounge is the quietest area of the flat so keeping them in there for the day helps to stop them from getting worked up if our neighbours are going up and down the stairs outside the front door. It also helps not giving the dogs the full run of the house and keeping them in one area helps to make them feel safe. 

Vespa also gets a Kong toy which I stuff with some of his dry breakfast that I keep aside for soaking and freezing. Food goes much further when its soaked because it expands and freezing it makes it last longer and slightly more difficult to get out of the Kong, therefore is more time consuming when your pet is trying to tackle it. This keeps them occupied for longer and takes their minds off the fact their human isn't in the house. You can also get things like thunder jackets and diffusers with calming scents in to help relax your dog in times of anxiety which I've yet to try, as right now we're having to keep Vespa in a large crate so he doesn't pee all over our boxes when we're not here. The crate is plenty big enough and it also stops Custard from stealing his Kong toy throughout the day. However, this means its not safe to leave him in a thunder jacket or a calming collar as they're not suitable for crate use in case the animal gets caught somehow. 

Its been a real experience already and I'll be honest, there were moments over the past couple of weeks where I thought 'oh god, its not going to work' but we've continued to try new things and are open to more suggestions from people who may have dealt with similar situations. As for moving house, we hope to be going within the next month or so which will massively improve the house training results and the separation anxiety won't be a huge nuisance to our neighbours. Its a real shame when you live so closely to other people, especially when one of them sleeps during the day! But we'll get there and its wonderful having Vespa join our little family.

Thanks for reading!

Ellis x

Zootropolis Review

One night this week we decided to snuggle down to watch Zootropolis, one of Disney's latest films. I'll be honest, I don't get excited about new Disney film anymore and I miss the old style animation and stories. They're just not what they used to be, but that doesn't mean to say they can't be great! Following todays technology and what sells is all they're doing so you can't really blame them can you?

James bought me Zootropolis for my birthday and like the rest of the recent Disney releases, I was keen to see it but not queueing up on its release day. Now for my opinion and for a good ol' spoiler alert!

Zootropolis follows Judy the Rabbit who has always dreamt of becoming a police woman. She eventually moves to the big city of Zootropolis and is given a role as a metre maid which she despises but endures in the hope it might be a foot in the door to becoming a real cop to protect the city. She is just about fired when she assigns herself to finding a missing Otter, much to the dismay of her boss Chief Bogo, who gives her 48 hours to complete the task of finding him. Judy soon runs into Nick the Fox with whom she has a brief encounter with prior to her assignment involving fraud, theft and popsicles, and together they join forces to find Mr Otter. 

Thats all I'll say with regards to the story line, but I was so blown away by the creativity of this film that it has quickly become one of my new favourites that I'm dying to watch again. It was funny, clever, had an awesome range of characters and would appeal to both boys and girls. The story wasn't typically predictable and there were also lots of life lessons involved with incredible graphics throughout. I loved watching the relationship between Judy and Nick develop and it was also refreshing to see a non-romantic friendship grow throughout the movie.

The voices were also perfect matches for the characters and there are plenty of famous faces behind the animation such as Ginnifer Goodwin, Jason Bateman, Idris Elba and Shakira to name a few. I am in love with this film and its one of Disney's best in a long time. The storyline was unique and it was great to see a leading lady being a protector and following her dreams. I highly recommend giving it a watch if you haven't already, you won't be disappointed!

Thanks for watching!

Ellis x

Painting Jafar - Disney Villain #3

I've not had much time to paint over the past few weeks but I thought I'd share my most recent Disney Villain piece that I did as part of my little series. 

I did Jafar in the same style as Ursula and Hades, using Winsor and Newton acrylic paints on the Winsor and Newton acrylic paper…non sponsored! I've really been loving getting back into painting and there's nothing I love more than recreating my favourite characters, especially if they're Disney. Jafar is just plain evil and makes my skin crawl when he's after a slice of Jasmine, but hey ho thats what makes a great villain. Also has anyone ever noticed what a bizarre neck Jafar has? Am I right?!

I currently have Maleficent on the go which I'll do a post on when she's ready. I'll also be doing a Disney Princess for a Christmas present so I'll be sure to share her when she's finished! I may also need to restock on the acrylic paper, its so lovely to work with so if you're a keen acrylic artist or just fancy a mess about, I highly recommend it.

Thanks for reading :)

Ellis x

November Favourites

This is exactly why I didn't commit to blogmas this year. Slap bang in the middle of packing my house ready to move, during the festive season, gaining a new pet, working full time and running an Etsy shop? Maybe next year I'll have a strategy! Better late than never, here are my November favourites!

Cadbury Oreo Chocolate
Cadburys have really upped their game recently and have invented even more tasty, wonderful delights perfect for cosy nights in with a film and your favourite humans. I'm not kidding when I say…this is possibly my favourite bar by Cadburys now they've really pushed the boat out and filled it chocca with Oreo style layered goodness. Its so creamy and the best sweet treat combination I've ever had. I can't wait to try the other bars from their new 'Big Taste' range.

Georgia Nicolson Book Series 
This is a series I became obsessed with during my early teens and I've never had the heart to get rid of my books. They're in an immaculate condition and whilst packing my bookcase the other week, it dawned on me that I would love nothing more than to read them again. I sat myself down in front of the movie and as great as the books are, the film just doesn't do them justice. The books are so much more hilarious, you learn so much more about the characters and I actually find myself laughing out loud. Georgia is bloody brilliant and despite these books being aimed at teens, whats stopping us from reading them again? I took to Twitter and was amazed that so many people have no shame in re-reading their favourite books from their teenage years and even more gobsmacked that people still buy these types of books whatever their age! This is music to my ears! 

Joe Browns Pjams
These pjams are so soft and festive I couldn't leave these out of my November favourites. Joe Browns have some stunning Christmas gifts in at the moment and some beautiful outfits perfect for Christmas parties and being merry. I'm in love with the pattern on these and the long sleeves on the top are so cosy and great for layering with your dressing gown for extra warmth.

Snow Fairy Body Conditioner
During the colder months, my skin turns on me and this year has been the worst. Its flaky and even scabbed over in some places on my arms…too much information? What I love about this body conditioner is like all Lush products I've ever tried, its super sensitive on your skin yet does a great job. I whack some of this onto my problem areas which is mostly my arms, leave it a couple of minutes then I hop in the shower and let it rinse off. Its got such a gorgeous sweet scent to it and in typical Snow Fairy fashion, leaves behind a subtle shimmer.

So I thought I'd keep it short and sweet this month since its been a busy one but never fear! I already have a whole load of goodies piling up for December's favourites which I'm very excited about.

Thanks for reading!

Ellis x

Christmas Gift Guide - Cute Edition

Its the most wonderful time of the year so without further ado, welcome to my Christmas Gift Guide, the cute edition!

Sainsburys - Unicorn Hand Warmers
First of all, major hats off to Sainsburys this year for their insanely cute unicorn range in the gifty section. These adorable hand warmers are just one of the many ridiculously sweet stocking filler style gifts and you know what, I'm not even ashamed to say I'm keeping these for myself. There are notebooks, key rings, sippy cups, cuddly toys and all sorts of other cute pressies in this range so seriously get on down to Sainsburys if you haven't already.

Paperchase - Box Of Llamas
If you've never been to Paperchase, what the bleddy hell are you playing at? They stock some of the most unusual and loveable bits of random nonsense that make great stocking stuffers or little bits for secret santa gifts. I picked up a box of these little wooden llamas because well, llamas are flippin' awesome but also I'm loving that Paperchase is getting its llama on and producing llama themed products. I believe these are intended to scatter on the Christmas dinner table but I thought they'd be sweet tied onto presents with a little gift tag. There are six different colours in a box too!

Special Books
I know books aren't everyones cup of tea but when they're as beautiful, collectable and special as these two right here, I think they make the most wonderful gifts. The Beauty and the Beast book is by Barnes and Noble and this brand truly make fairy tales and classic novels that extra bit special. They're hard backed and have the most beautiful covers with intricate detailing which also continues onto the inside. The Winnie the Pooh range have also released anniversary editions of the stories which I think make lovely little gifts for both genders and of all ages. 

This brand is a recent discovery of mine and I can't express how in love I am with their style. They make adorable little gifts for kids but lets face it, if you love cute things - this is a great place to grab a gift for fellow cute-loving friends and family. These little minis would make wonderful stocking fillers and they also sell a range of gorgeous night lights in the same style, cushions, wall art…its just so darn lovely! 

Llama Talks Stocking Fillers
Since I've been adding lots of new goodies to my Etsy shop this week, I couldn't not add one of my new designs to this gift guide. Badges have proven to be extremely popular this year and we'll be working on lots more designs in the new year. These unicorn pins are one of my favourites yet and I'm very pleased with how they've turned out and they're only £1.25 each! 

Blippo is up there as one of my favourites shops of all time. Lovers of Hello Kitty and other kawaii riff raff will adore this online shop and everything is ridiculously low priced and the shipping is also free! They have an enormous range of stationery, home gifts and also plush characters, its impossible to not go overboard!

Lush - Sugar Plum Fairy Lip Scrub
Finally, whats a gift guide without a little Lush thrown in? This winter, the Sugar Plum Fairy Lip Scrub has been a life saver and I've not stopped using it. Paired up with a good lip balm, this stuff is brilliant for getting rid of all that chapped, dead skin and leaving behind a nice soothing layer of moisture for your lips. They're also super diddy (but long lasting!) pots which would make a lovely little pressie under the tree or you could even add it to a DIY beauty hamper. 

So I must say, I've thoroughly enjoyed throwing together this sweet little gift guide and I hope you enjoyed having a mooch!
Let me know whats on your Christmas wish list in the comments…

Thanks for reading!

Ellis x

Olympus Pen Unboxing & Review

On November 30th I turned 25 and I had saved up to treat myself to a new blogging camera. Having done my research and also had this particular model shuvved in my face via the blogging and YouTube communities on Twitter for the past few months, I had to investigate and decided it sounded like the camera for me. 

Back in June this year, I plucked up the courage to start making YouTube videos and bought myself a fairly cheap Panasonic Lumix from Amazon to get me started. Truth be told, I wasn't too thrilled with this little camera even to begin with. I've always been a big lover of cameras and like to save up for a decent piece of kit rather than buy cheap crap. It sounds so snobby of me but when I bought my SLR, I did my research and bought myself something I was going to enjoy using, produce work I'd be proud of and also wouldn't go too 'out of date' over time as technology inevitably does. The Lumix was pathetic and the image quality was terrible. I believe I paid £114 on Amazon for this camera and filmed my first few videos using it. The auto focus was horrendously poor and even taking standard photos was infuriating. I'd taken photography at Sixth Form so I'm picky when it comes to quality in images. God I'm making myself sound like a dick. The bright side to the Lumix is it got me into YouTube without paying a larger sum for a vlogging camera as I didn't know whether YouTube was something I was going to enjoy let alone commit to.

I was weighing up between the Olympus Pen and the Canon G7X and since I'd heard a lot about the Canon sort of failing over time especially with its focus, I looked further into the world of the Olympus Pen. I also understand the new model for the Pen has just come out yet I couldn't justify spending an extra £100 so close to Christmas when the specs weren't much different so I purchased myself the EPL7. I am amazed by the quality of this camera already and cannot wait to get properly stuck into using it.

It has such a good solid weight to it which I'm very pleased with as sometimes cameras can feel a bit too plastic and fragile but this bad boy means business. The buttons are easy to use - this may sound daft but in the past I've experienced cameras with really stiff buttons or they're too small to use with ease but the Olympus Pen is perfect. The only thing I'm struggling to get used to is the flip down screen as theres a certain way it needs to fold out but I'm pleasantly surprised with how easy I found it to vlog with as I'm usually a flip up screen kinda girl. I got used to the new angle quickly and felt comfortable with the view finder.

Lets talk about image quality. Holy cow, I feel blown away both with photo images and video quality. I was able to vlog today without worrying about the focus and lighting in different rooms, the camera picks up the sound beautifully and again its super easy to use. For photos, I was amazed that it seems to lighten them up slightly if they're a bit too dark (like when the weather is mugging you off) and I also love the swift clicking sound when you've pressed the 'take' button. Its so quick, sharp and fun to use that I've fallen head over heels in love with this camera and its worth every penny.

Thanks for reading!

Ellis x

Fantastic Beasts Movie Review

Having never done a movie review before, I'm shocked with myself as films are such a big part of my life I thought I would have talked about them at least once on my blog. Same goes for Harry Potter. I LOVE Harry Potter. As with all movie reviews, please don't read if you don't want to have anything spoilt…you have been warned!

When I first saw the sneak peak trailer for Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, I wasn't that psyched for it but then they released the full length trailer and as soon as the unmistakable Harry Potter theme tune started to play, I'd decided this was a film worth seeing. It takes a lot for a film to send me straight to the cinema on the first day of its release, especially since cinema tickets are so bloody expensive these days. We have a couple of membership passes for our local cinema in town and its an old fashioned, beautifully decorated and exceedingly comfortable family run establishment, however it takes a couple of extra weeks for them to get hold of the movies. So as it was my birthday yesterday, we tootled off to the Showcase Cinema in Leicester at the Highcross and saw it there after grabbing a Wagamama's lunch.

The first half an hour of this film was awesome; I felt hooked  and excited for the story to develop. Re-entering the magical world was so exciting and seeing it through the eyes of a different country, learning the different laws and views on magic and the different terms for 'Muggles' was both educational and fun. I fell instantly in love with Newt Scamander (as I expect most people will) and with his adoration for his creatures it was impossible to not feel infected with his love for them. The creatures were also fun to watch, interesting to learn about and their designs were inventive and each incredibly different from the next.

The sets and effects were flawless and you can tell a lot of time, effort, money and talent was used to create such a visually stunning movie. I did feel however that the storyline let me down some what, it seemed to be lacking a real kick and I felt bored with it after the first hour was over. I loved the main characters, especially the little relationship between Queenie and Jacob which also resulted in a super cute ending. The costumes were so beautiful and I also really enjoyed seeing this film based in the 1920's.

I went in with a completely open mind as I think going in expecting something as good as the Harry Potter series is both foolish and destined for disappointment, yet I still felt like this film was missing a decent storyline and it failed to keep me entertained. A couple in our showing even got up, walked out and never came back which I always find highly amusing with any film. I didn't hate it and I sure as hell don't regret going to see it but my overall opinion was it was missing something. 

Thanks for reading & let me know what you thought to Fantastic Beasts if you've already seen it!

Ellis x

Christmas with Joe Browns

There is nothing better than a new set of pjams especially at this time of year, am I right?! There is something extra snuggly about a lovely new, soft set of sleepwear for the cosy nights in, snuggled up with hot chocolate and a good ol' Christmas movie. So when Joe Browns got in touch and asked if I wanted to be a part of their Xmas Instagram Campaign I jumped at the chance! They very kindly sent me a set of their amazingly festive winter pyjamas to review on my blog and Instagram and I honestly could not be more thrilled with this set.

The top piece is fairly simple with an adorable embroidered 'this is snow time to be awake' quote along the right bottom corner and a pretty little snowflake pattern on the left chest area. I'm also a fan of the miss matched coloured buttons which detail the collar and the most eye catching feature is without a doubt the insanely awesome Santa print on the arms which continues onto the bottoms.

The bottoms are the type that are cuffed at the ankle which I'm a huge fan of as they just add to the cosiness and it works a treat when paired with slippers. This design is to die for and better yet, the pjams are so comfy and super thick, amazing quality. You can grab yourself a set of these gorgeous pyjamas right here!

Joe Browns also stock some beautiful Christmas gifts and stocking fillers, I literally need everything! I can't wait to get cuddled up into these cosies tonight in front of Home Alone and a huge hot chocolate. This is what the festive season is all about after all! 

Thanks for reading!

Ellis x

*This Joe Browns Pyjama set was gifted to me to review on my blog and Instagram @ellis_woolley

Free Prints Review

This year I have made more of an effort to get photos printed and make cute photo albums and scrapbooks with them. Its something I had been meaning to do for years since I had a stack of old photos from my childhood and of my parents when they were young. I was also watching a recent video from VelvetGh0st and she had also got some photos printed and put them together really nicely in a scrapbook which sparked me off so I ordered myself some more photos. I currently have a few photo albums on the go which need spaces filling and also, its fun to document life and perhaps one day show your children.

I had heard of 'FreePrints' and seen it advertised but was very sceptical since after all, how they they claim to send out free photos? Turns out, once you've signed up you're entitled to 40 free standard 6x9 prints each month. You pay a small postage fee but apart from that, you pay nothing. So I placed my order and threw a few more than 40 in for good measure which I had to pay a little extra for and waited. The ease of simply uploading them to the app via your phones camera roll was brilliant and so quick. 

My prints turned up a good week before they were due to (they give a delivery date once dispatched) and I couldn't wait to check out the quality. Now, I've ordered from quite a few photo printing companies now and FreePrints are definitely my new favourite. The photos are clear so long as the resolution is high enough, the colours are vibrant, sharp and the paper itself is thick quality and extremely glossy.

Even Instagram photos which are square come printed with a black boarder down two of the sides which makes them easy to crop but they also look professional if you were to keep them with the boarder. I cut some of mine down but some also look great left as they are. In the past when I've ordered Instagram photos, some companies have just blown them up so they distort and look rubbish so I'm super pleased that FreePrints do Instagram photos this way. I'm thrilled to bits with my prints and will be sure to check back into my app next month for another batch of free photos!

Thanks for reading :)

Ellis x

Primark - Fosse Park Leicester

Yesterday I headed for a much overdue trip to the new Primark at Fosse Park in Leicester and thought I'd cover my entire experience with a blog post. I felt like a mystery shopper taking extra note of the store layout and customer service but it was great to have a mooch around another store which wasn't my usual go-to.

First impressions - much better layout and despite being really short, I still found it easy to navigate around. I found this exceedingly difficult in the Oxford Street Primark in London so the Fosse Park store did well here. I also appreciated the lounge areas, which were in various corners of the store to have a little sit down when the shopping got a bit too much. A great dumping ground for bored boyfriends! 

The section I was most excited for was the home ware, but was disappointed in how typically sparse this area was. I've yet to find a Primark where there is a decently sized home section so if you're local store has one, drop me a comment! I did however spot a couple of shelves downstairs completely dedicated to stationery which was impressive, especially since there were bits from the Gabriella range which I have never seen before. There was also a whole row of Christmas home ware which kind of made up for the lack of it upstairs but I didn't spot anything I fancied. Regardless, it was nice to see Primark getting all festive and the range of colour schemes was awesome.

Clothes wise, there is an awesome range of jeggings and jeans which is something else I feel other stores lack, however this one didn't seem to have many tshirts and tops which is what the Nottingham store goes overboard with. There were however plenty of coats, a huge beauty section where everything also look fully stocked (a lot of stores beauty sections look like they've been ransacked!) and there was an enormous area completed dedicated to sweet treats and stocking fillers.

At the till, the staff were polite and chatty which in my experience is hard to come by especially in Primark. The lady who served me was really friendly as were the rest of the team serving other customers and the process was quick. Overall the entire store was tidy, well stocked and clean which was very refreshing to see and I hope it stays this way!

If you want to see what I picked up, you can watch my latest haul video below :)

Thanks for reading and let me know if you've visited the Fosse Park Primark store :)

Ellis x

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