September Favourites

I seem to remember missing my August monthly favourites completely and I think this was down to the fact I've taken a much more laid back approach to blogging recently and wasn't pressuring myself too much. September has been an awesome month for trying new things so I feel like I'm back in the game and ready to share with you the thing's that have made me go 'oooh' over the past 4 weeks.

Llama Pjams - Primark
My Pusheen pjams got ruined last month thanks to Aunt Flo (no secrets here) and I wanted to venture off to Primark to replace them as they're some of my most favourite pjam bottoms I've ever had. They didn't have any left which upset me greatly but then I spotted this set which I couldn't resist. This set cost me £10 as opposed to £8 for branded bottoms and anywhere between £5-£8 for a branded top so I think this was a much better deal than buying more from the branded section. The tassels are so cute I just hope they stay on when they go into the wash!


Vegan Liquid Chocolate - Sweet Freedom
A new Aldi has recently opened in my town and on the way back from going out with my Mum, we realised it was in fact their opening day so we went in on the way home. Mum spotted this liquid chocolate from Sweet Freedom and it cost around £2.50 which is much cheaper than some places online that stock it. You can make hot chocolate with it, decorate your puddings with it and I was also adding it to my protein shakes for some extra chocolatey flavour. It's really delicious and comes in a convenient squeezy bottle.

vegan chocolate

Party Rings - Foxes Biscuits
From what I've discovered, Party Rings are one of those 'accidentally vegan' products and I jumped for joy when I found out, especially since I've recently become a fan of Home Bargains where the famous biscuits are 39p a pack! YES. I've been eating them by the bucket load because of this and also have some in my suitcase to take to Paris with me next week. Not even sorry.

Halloween Candle - Home Bargains
As stated in the above, I went into Home Bargains for the first time in about 10 years after hearing people rave about their festive candles when they came out last year. At £2.99, they're well worth a try and I went to go and see what I could get my hands on. I picked up the Halloween candle which smells like an absolute mash up of Swizzels sweets; I can definitely detect the familiar smell of Drumstick Lollies. A week later I went back and luckily they were just putting out the Christmas candles so I grabbed the Gingerbread scented one of those and I'm still amazed at the strength of the scent for such a cheap candle. They're huge too, literally the same size as a Yankee so it's a no brainer really, £2.99 over £20+ for a large candle? I'll grab myself some more I think to stock up on!

halloween candle

Japanese Matcha Tea Mask - The Body Shop
The Body Shop were kind enough to send me a jar of their relatively new Japanese Matcha Tea face mask during September too and after trying their charcoal mask, I knew I was in for another treat. These masks are that bit more special than standard packet masks; they feel really posh being presented in a glass jar, they last ages and honestly I've never had products treat my skin as well as this range does from The Body Shop. I'm dying to try the rest of them!

the body shop mask

Roald Dahl
When I was younger, I would spend hours engrossed in a Roald Dahl book and although I mainly borrowed my books from the library (I loved doing this!) I didn't have my own copies until I was older. I do however still have my old copy of Charlie & the Chocolate factory which must be nearly 20 years old and I remember sitting with this same book on a beach in Kefalonia when I was about 7 or 8. It's in a pretty poor condition but picking the story up after what must be the 100th time and getting lost in the Dahl world once again has been so magical. I also read The Witches and The Twits during September, another two brilliant classics from the Dahl collection.

roald dahl

I feel like there was plenty of variety throughout September so it was definitely a great month to get back into the 'Monthly Favourites' with. I really enjoyed writing this post and reflecting back on all of the great things I found.

Thanks for reading!

Japanese Match Tea Face Mask Review - The Body Shop*

A few months back my gob was well and truly smacked when The Body Shop asked me to try out their Charcoal Face Mask and review it on good ol' Instagram. I leaped at the opportunity and this mask has been a staple in my cosmetics cupboard ever since. I've used face masks since my teenage years and can hand on heart say it's one of the best face masks (for my face) that I've ever used. My face feels really fresh, hydrated and smooth when I've had a session with it.

the body shop mask

The Body Shop have been kind enough to once again send me one of their latest masks to try and this time it's the Japanese Matcha Tea mask and again, I jumped at the chance. Especially since The Body Shop are now with new owners and are 100% cruelty free. This mask also happens to be vegan too so bonus!

face mask

Like the charcoal mask, the green tea one comes in a little glass jar which I always think feels super posh especially compared to those 99p packet masks (which are also a fave of mine from Superdrug!) but these ones feel like the ultimate pamper treat. I learnt from the last mask too that applying the gloop with a clean foundation brush is so much easier and cleaner than doing it with your fingers. I believe you can get 'face mask brushes' from The Body Shop but I just use a foundation brush which came in one of those cheap kits and it works really well and is easy to rinse afterwards.

green tea

These masks will set you back £17 which sounds a little pricey but I've had my other jar now since May this year and it's still half full. I use it probably twice a month as I don't overdo it on my sensitive skin so depending on how generous you are and how often, the jars can last you a while. The other benefit to using a brush to apply your mask is the product goes a lot further so I'd definitely recommend trying that trick if you haven't before. They also don't dry up or go funky (speaking from 5 months experience) which I think is reassuring when you're spending a fair wad on a face mask, plus you can recycle your jar afterwards to store bobby pins or earrings for example.

the body shop face mask

Let me know if you've tried any of the masks from this range before and which one I should try next. The Rose one sounds lush!

Thanks for reading,

*This product was sent to me by The Body Shop as part of their #DareToMask campaign on Instagram*

A Fear Of The Dentist

I think most of us have a fear of the dentist. When I was a kid, I remember not really being a fan even though my dentist was a lovely and hilarious indian chap and was always very kind, patient and reassuring. The invasion of personal space and instruments being so close to your face, poking around inside your grill whilst you lay there helpless and vulnerable is a very scary position to find yourself in.

Not gonna lie, I've had my fair share of scary dentist experiences. The first was when I was very young, around 7-8 and I had to have 2 teeth extracted to make room in my mouth for braces. This was a downright nightmare. I remember not feeling much, but the shaking around of my head still haunts me. Then I had around 3-4 years of dentist and orthodontist appointments torturing my life and whilst my orthodontist appointments themselves were usually a breeze and sometimes fun (if the bubblegum flavoured teeth moulds were involved!), the altering of my teeth was agony. I remember not being able to eat when they were tightened, the wires cutting into my gums, the yanking when it came to removing my braces at the final stage and the smell of the place. I have lovely straight teeth now, but getting here was hard work.

Then when I was in my early teens, after all that with the braces, I was trying to hole punch some homework with my stepmum's huge hole puncher which had a safety clip on it. Long story short, the safety clip snapped off and the hole punch sort of sprung up and hit me in the face, chipping away half of one of my main front teeth. That was agony too. Exposed nerves, half a tooth missing. I felt like Quasimodo.

It wasn't until a couple of years later that I went to the dentist to have the front of my tooth replaced with an artificial piece so believe it or not, half of my right front tooth is fake. But to do this, the dentist had to file down a bit of my real tooth to make a nice clean edge and he tried to inject me in the mouth without telling me what he was doing. I have a phobia of needles, another common one I think, but needles make me physically sick, my knees go to jelly and I panic, big time. But here I am willingly going to get tattoos every year. Bizarre isn't it. Anyway he came at me and we ended up falling out, he told me off for pushing him away whilst he had a needle in his hand and we agreed in the end I would endure the pain rather than have a needle in my face. Truth be told, I don't remember it hurting, just a tad uncomfortable.

After this ordeal, I didn't return to the dentist for years. Around about 8 years I want to say. It wasn't until I was with James and we both realised we weren't with a dentist, that we ought to go and get check ups, just in case of an emergency then we'd know we'd be registered with a dentist should we ever need one. We returned every 6 months for check ups and on my check up last December, the dentist told me my teeth were in that good nick that I could come back in 9 months and not 6.

I'd been feeling some sensitivity in one of my lower molars recently and upon inspection there was a tiny hole. Luckily my appointment was a couple of weeks away so I left getting a closer appointment as it wasn't painful and it wasn't sensitive all the time...only when I focussed in on it. Convinced I'd need a filling, I started to get myself in a right state at the thought of being drilled and injected because I've been very lucky with my oral hygiene and have never needed anything doing. But I went to my appointment and it feels like the more I go the more nervous I get, convincing myself something is wrong. My dentist spent a couple of minutes examining me in all of my wide open (ha!) glory and propped me back up again, praising me for having such amazing oral hygiene. She told me I was doing really well with looking after my teeth and the sensitivity was absolutely normal, no cause for concern. She even gave me some toothpaste samples...I'd have preferred a sticker though!

I guess what I've come to learn though is I'd much rather keep up with my appointments because they're beneficial for two huge reasons:

1. If you need anything doing, a routine check will pick up on these things before they get nasty, painful and scarier.
2. If you have a dental emergency, you've got a dentist!

So if you're terrified of going (and believe me I can relate to you 110%, I'd rather go for a smear) push yourself as hard as you can into getting to your appointment or even booking one and get your pearly whites looked at. It only takes a couple of minutes and if you're lucky the dentist might give them a quick polish too!

Thanks for reading,

Beauty & The Beast Painting

I've been meaning to paint a Disney piece for my Disney obsessed best friend for a couple of years...I know I'm so bad with getting my act together. In a bid to kill two birds with one stone, I thought I'd test out a new material and try to improve my acrylic skills, whilst also making a gift for my friend. She loves Beauty and the Beast (a huge fan way before all the hype came along with the new live action) and I thought I'd paint her a portrait of the famous characters.

The material I used was a roll of canvas; basically canvas that hasn't been stretched onto a frame. It comes on a roll so you can choose how big you want your piece to be and I remember it being quite cheap. Perhaps between £1-£2 for a few metres. I hadn't used it before but with it being so cheap, I gave it a go.

This was really fun to do and I thoroughly enjoyed myself spending 3 days working on it. I had a variety of listening materials ranging from Harry Potter audiobooks to ASMR and it was so relaxing. If you've never done some artwork with ASMR on in the background, you're seriously missing out on some quality therapeutic magic. 

It wasn't until I finished this painting and took a photo to show my Mum that I realised I really should have primed the canvas rather than go straight in with paint. Mum is my go to for artistic criticism and as I've gotten older, we can exchange criticism without offending each other which is something we both used to struggle with! The thing with canvas is sometimes you get annoying little white spaces that show up when the paint is dry where the paint hasn't quite reached the thousands of tiny gaps in the canvas texture and it can look very clumsy. This is something that happened to this piece unfortunately but without looking up close it wasn't very noticeable.

I'd always intended to give this painting to my best friend so I framed it up nicely for her so it was a proper little gifted treat. The framing process was a little tricky as I went out and got a frame, but once I'd got the frame home and cut the painting down to fit, it looked terrible. I ventured off out to The Range again the next day to get another frame and this new one looked perfect, but it only just fit the painting. It was my fault for cutting the painting down before thinking properly about the choice of frame, but the learning involved with this painting has been so valuable and although it isn't a piece that demonstrates my best work, I have discovered so much in the process:

- prime canvas before painting on it
- don't cut the work down until you've got the right frame
- take artwork with you when picking a frame
- continue to practice with acrylic paints
- keep up with the character drawing skills!

Beauty and the Beast

Thanks for reading!

Dream Destinations: Paris

It's been a few months since I started what I wanted to call my 'Dream Destinations' series and I think I was struggling with picking places to write about, because there's just so many I didn't know where to begin! We didn't think we'd get a holiday this year, after all we did buy a house and ended up having to cancel our wedding anniversary trip to Amsterdam back in March after our boiling broke the same week we moved in. But an opportunity has come up and we were able to book ourselves a new trip and after a bit of thinking, we picked another city to explore. James has done Paris before with his parents, but I've never been to the city itself so we thought this would be the perfect place to visit. I was sneaky though...

Regular visitors to my blog may know how much I adore Disney and have been craving a trip to Disneyland Paris for quite some time after we returned to the parks for Halloween in 2014. I've managed to wangle myself a day trip to Disneyland Paris as part of this holiday and I'm so unbelievably excited to be going back, even if it is just for the day. I'll be making the most of it don't you worry AND it'll be Halloween again! This place is so special and sentimental to me because not only is it where I hold some fond memories of going there as a family during my childhood, it was also mine and James' first holiday together so it'll be lovely to return once again with him.

But back to Paris itself, we have a list of things we'd like to see and do before I drag us off to Disneyland at the end of our week and I'll start with the place we're both most eager to get stuck into.

The Louvre
I've wanted to visit the Louvre ever since I realised it is in fact where the Mona Lisa is housed, along with countless other masterpieces from some of my favourite artists. I'm a huge lover of Da Vinci's work and there is something truly incredible about seeing it in person. Whether I'll be able to take photos inside this building I'm not sure, but to see these paintings with my own eyes will certainly be a few ticks off the bucket list. Even the grounds look spectacular and even if I didn't do anything else in Paris, I'd be happy just seeing the Louvre; that's how much it excites me.

Notre Dame
We love visiting cathedrals, especially when they're plastered in beautiful detailing and represent stunning architecture. I feel Notre Dame is quite an unusual shape too, I may find myself watching The Hunchback of Notre Dame before we's been a while since I've seen that movie and it would be nice to refresh my thoughts on how Disney portrayed such a magnificent structure.

Palace of Versailles
We're also big history lovers as well as museum explorers so it seems silly to not visit the grand French Palace of Versailles. I'm going to do a little bit of research around the palace before hand so I have a little bit of knowledge around it, but I can't wait to explore the museum and take some awesome photos of this place.

Eiffel Tower
You can't go to Paris and not visit the Eiffel Tower can you? To be honest, this is the landmark that I'm not overly fussed about surprisingly, but since we'll be in Paris it would be rude to not give it a quick visit and take some pictures.

Arc de Triomphe 
I know absolutely nothing about this monument and this is something I can tell I'll really love about visiting Paris; when you come home brimming with new knowledge! It's exactly how I felt when I returned from Rome a couple of years back and I love the feeling of knowing you've learnt something valuable, especially around history.

Although this is kind of a city break and we wanted to have something a little more relaxing this time around, the location of our hotel is perfect to just hop onto a shuttle to the Disney Parks and village or a train to a shopping centre and the city. It looks so relaxing and idyllic, with a spa, pool, gym, and gorgeous surroundings to chill in after a day of exploring Paris.

It's been that long since we've properly been away like this that I haven't blogged about it or filmed any memories so this is something else I'm super excited to document, being able to look back properly in the form of blog posts and videos. It's going to be awesome and very well deserved after such a busy year of working hard.

Thanks for reading,

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