Saturday, 23 January 2016

Birthday Gift Ideas for Mum

So today is Mummy Jack's birthday and this year I was a bit stuck for present ideas so I spent hours window shopping online for ideas and inspiration so I thought I'd pull together my favourites and top Picks for a present for Mum for her birthday (or even Mother's Day at the start of March.. Bit of an early bird me)! 

One of my favourite websites is Not On The High Street and although sometimes items on there are a bit pricey, they had all of the below items for less than £20 in the sale so I was more than impressed with these little beauties. My favourite is the photo frame as my Mum loves her photos on the wall! (And I'm sure I'd end up keeping the Cosmo kit for myself).



So both of these my Mum owns - last year my Mum got the Roses Yankee Candle for Mother's Day and this year Yankee Candle have released the new Limited Edition Pop Art style candles so I got Mum the "Mums make everything brighter" candle - it was between this and the Happy Birthday candle and even though I prefer the Vanilla Cupcake, I got the Lilac Blossom as it's a bit more ready for Spring. Both are about £14 depending on the size. 


I've never been an Easy person as I think it's all over the place and I never know what to look for but I found a few goodies via Pintrest that I quite liked - the first one made me smile as my Mum works for Specsavers so I thought it was suitable. The tokens are cute too, especially if you're a bit younger or you live at home as you can offer to do the washing up or wash the car etc to give your Mum a break and make her a cuppa!


Finally, of course I had to hit up Boots.com for a few ideas but my Mum has so much from Boots I wanted to get her something different. My top picks though are a great Estee Lauder starter kit which was in the sale along with the new No7 P&P Hand Care Kit! My Mum loves Sanctuary so I obviously had to include a little giftset and the Alien Giftset is still on sale from Boots.com from Christmas and as this is one of her favourites, this was almost an option! 

Hope these little ideas help for your Mum's special day, particularly if you, like me, are trying to save the pennies! I hope my Mum has the best birthday, she really does deserve it! <3 nbsp="" p="">


Ohhhh, to be tanned and blonde again! 


Monday, 18 January 2016

Olympus Pen E-PL7 First Impressions

So I've not got round to doing my New Year's Resolution posts but number 1 was to research and invest in a new camera for blogging as well as general life usage. I'd had an eye on one in particular and it was the Olympus Pen E-PL7 after seeing blogger, Lydia Millen, posting selfies of her with the camera.

I did quite a lot of research (for once!) and read quite a few blog posts, even watched Youtube videos and read reviews on Amazon and other websites and I finally caved last week and used a discount code I had from my birthday on Very.com - it also helps that I can't afford it right now so I don't have to pay anything for 12 months and even then, I can pay off bits and pieces before that to spread the cost.




I've got a few first impressions of the camera - bad and good - so this won't be a full on review, just a few little notes for anyone who's been thinking of getting it...

Good points: 

  • So easy to focus photos before taking them! You can also use the touch screen to focus on a certain part of the scene. 
  • Sticking with the focus, there are certain settings which will help the focus for if you specifically want to focus on something closer and make the background blurry or vice versa. 
  • There are a lot of different photo settings to pick from - I'm still learning a lot about them but I've (for the first time in life) used the manual. Some of the best settings are the filters - the black and white one specifically is one of my favourites. 
  • The manual (despite being on a disc for your PC which I'm not too keen on - I'd prefer a book) is really quite good - it's got images with clear description and has sections on each of the settings and each area of the camera. Perfect if you have a bit of time to get to know it a bit better.
  • The quality is incredible - even when the zoom is on full! 
  • The battery is a rechargeable one which is great as it will save you a fortune buying batteries - just have to remember to take your charger away with you if you're going travelling etc. 
  • It's not to everyone's taste, but I'm into anything vintage/retro so the look of the camera is what attracted me to it. 
  • One of my favourite things about the camera, and one of the 2 main reasons I purchased it is that you can transfer the photos straight to your phone (although there is a little drawback to this - keep reading to find out more!)
  • My other reason for purchasing this is the flip down screen so you can take a selfie which is perfect for if you Vlog! (Or just like taking photos with your friends!)
  • The OlympusPenGeneration hashtag is on Twitter and Instagram and it's like a great big family - it's great to see tips and ideas for photos as well as being able to meet other people with the same camera (which is great as I'm nosey!)

Bad points: 

  • You have to attach the flash if needed - I made the mistake of not taking it with me to Nottingham this weekend and when I was trying to take photos outside in the Snow Saturday night, I had to use the car park lighting and the photos came out quite yellow! 
  • It's a bit of a faff transferring photos - you have to turn the camera wifi on, select the wifi on your phone, then open the app to transfer. I keep forgetting to put my general wifi back on afterwards so I've probably used more data than normal this month. Not a huge deal breaker, I'm just lazy. 
  • It's quite heavy and with the lens on, it's quite chunky so finding a camera case is currently quite a challenge. 
  • The strap it comes off with is crap - it's so loose and has actually come off of the camera a number of times so it's definitely worth getting a better one if you're planning on walking around with it around your neck. 
  • There's a lot to it - this might not be an issue for a lot of people but I'm a bit of a technophobe and when I first turned it on, there's loads of settings around the sides of the screen and even along the top of the camera, with something that I think is to do with the brightness but for now, I'm happy just using the basics which I know and the filters. 
Here are some photos I've taken with the camera over the last week or so since I've had it... 




This has the Zoom on full and I'm stood on the otherside of the room trying to get Paddy's attention! Look at that little nose.. *heart eye emoji*





I've already done a couple of blog posts using the camera for the photos included, so go and have a nosey on over...

Latest Obsession: Sleeveless Coats  - definitely hadn't learnt about all the colour settings by that point!

Blog Planner - One of my favourite posts I've done, think it's purely because of the photos!

I can't wait to get out properly and head to our local National Trust park to take some proper photos and really take it for a test spin as well as taking it to Rome at the end of February to take some photos of the views. I'm hoping to get some really ace shots to print and frame so if you have any tips or blog posts about the Olympus Pen, please Tweet me links! :)



Wednesday, 13 January 2016

The Boyfriend Tag

So the other night when I was talking about my blog, my OH, Nick, was rather upset that I don't really include him other than little mentions here or there on here so I found a Boyfriend Tag for blogposts on Pinterest and it's sure to say that it kept us amused for a good hour. So we're sat here with Paddy the piggie sat in-between us, reminiscing about the last couple of years... here's how well (or not!) Nick knows me!

1) Where did we meet?
N: At the Cornmill.
S: Where you were an assistant manager who dealt with my complaint when someone put sour cream on my pudding instead of whipped cream. 

2) Where was our first date?
N: At the Village hotel.
S: I was bored and boxing was on. 

3) What were your first impressions of me?
Smiley and friendly. You had a nice smile and that does it for me. (To Paddy: Doesn't Mummy have a lovely smile). Positive Person.

4) When did you meet the family?
Can't remember - I think I met your Dad first, he came in the Cornmill with Henry and Jess. I remember they didn't put a portion of chips through. I can't remember the first time I met your Mum.

5) Do I have any weird obsessions and if yes, what?
Plastic bags. Candles - obviously. Don't think that's weird though, plastic bags is - one day the world will run out but we'll be ok.

6) How long have we been together?
N: Facebook official was the March - I can't remember the date I'll be honest. About 22 months.
S: Met August bank holiday. First date was November 23rd, Facebook Official was March 9th. Just sayin'.

7) Do we have a tradition?
N: Yeah probably have a few already but can't think what they are. I just get the feeling we do. Little traditions like having dinner at the table now, and always watching an episode of something in bed.
S: We always go away for both of our birthday's. 

8) What was our first Road Trip?
N: Don't know.
S: Before we were Facebook Official we went to Birmingham for a weekend, we stayed in the Malmaison and had dinner at the MailBox after going to the Champagne Bar. 
N: Oh and drinks in that dodgy Whetherspoons.



9)  Do I play Sports?
N: Not really, you go to the gym. Unless running is a sport?
S: I don't even do that! 

10) What is my favourite restaurant?
You talk about Marco Pierre White a lot, and you've always liked Amores but we've never been - need to do that one day for the steak.

11) What do we argue about the most?
My job.

12) Who wears the pants?
N: Neither of us.
S: It's true.

13) If I'm watching TV, what am I watching?
On your own, sometimes Miranda's on. Or Big Bang Theory. Or Youtube! SacconeJoly's or whatever they're called.

14) What is the main food I don't like?
There's loads *laughs*. Suppose something you really don't like... white chocolate, I found that out by buying you a white chocolate easter egg. You don't like coffee. Chorizo which is one of my favourite foods. Anything spicy I suppose.

15) What drink do I order when I go out?
Rose and Lemonade. But if not it'll be a blackcurrant if you're not drinking.

16) What size shoe am I?
N: Ooh.. 6?
S: Wrong! 7

17) What's my favourite sandwich?
N: Would it be tuna mayo?
S: If Panini's count then yeah, tuna melt! 

18) What's a talent that I have?
A talent for being right.. *laughs*. Make up/stylist I suppose, it's what your job is.

19) What would I eat every day if I could?
N: You drink fruit tea. You wouldn't eat chocolate as you don't really like it hat much.. Tuna cheese and sweet corn panini?
S: I don't think there'd be something I'd want to eat every day - I'd get bored. 

20) What is my favourite cereal?
N: That changes, you've just brought Weetabix. Healthy cereal.
S: I don't often eat cereal but either Weetabix or something for kids like Coco Pops or Golden Nuggets! 

21) What is my favourite music?
Pop Music. Not really got a specific taste - whatever's on the radio.

22) What is my favourite sports team?
Nottingham Panthers Ice Hockey.

23) What is my eye colour?
Ain't got a clue. They're not blue. I don't know. *Sarah looks at Nick* They're not really any colour.

24) Who is my best friend?
Laura.

25) What is something you do that I wish you didn't?
N: Work so much.
S: Tbh, you could've had multiple answers ;) 

26) Where am I from?
N: Nottingham.
S: Waaah wrong.
N: Oh yeah, somewhere down South where your Nan lives.
S: Biggleswade.
N: That's it.

27) What kind of cake would you bake me on my birthday?
N: I wouldn't make you a cake, I'd bake you an Apple Crumble but if I had to bake you a cake it's be a Red Velvet as that's one of my favourite memories - you made me one.
S: N'aww yeah, with Red Haribo hearts on!




28) What can I spend hours doing?
Probably blogging, but I don't think you spend hours doing it. You don't spend hours getting ready. You don't really spend hours doing anything.

29) What makes me the happiest?
N: Meeee. No, probably the guinea pigs. Or Shepard's pie. (To Paddy.. "ain't that right Pad, you make Mummy happy").
S: No definitely you, Paddy and the little'ens, chilling out, date days/nights, being back at home with the family! 

30) If I could live anywhere, where would it be?
N: Probably on a beach. Don't think it would matter where to be fair. Maybe Santorini?
S: One of the first things you learnt was put me by a beach, any beach, and I'm a happy girl! 




Sunday, 10 January 2016

My Blog Planner

So before Christmas I ordered my very own personalised Blog Planner (thebloggersplanner.com) in an attempt to get back onto the blogging train once and for all as part of my New Years Resolution and I have to say that despite putting it off for quite a while because of the price, I absolutely love it. 

I think firstly it's absolutely beaut and I love the font which is followed throughout the whole planner. I've started planning blog posts and using various pages to write down ideas so I'm hoping I carry on using it throughout the year and not just get bored of it like I do with everything else.. I'm actually useless! I went for the Matte Black, hard back book... 


One of my favourite parts of the planner is the month in view so it's a quick place to use it as an actual diary - I've got birthday's, weddings and special occasions already added so it's all in one place. I can also then use these as ideas for blog posts; wish lists/birthday ideas etc for various ages. 


You then get a week to view page which has more than just space for day to day life. I've been using to plan my posts as I've done below. I've just been putting the title of the post and down the side you have an area for notes/To Do's for any little ideas of things to remind you to include. The cute little ticklist is ace as well so when you're writing the post you can tick off your ideas after you've included them. What I love is how much space you get. 


At the end of each week, you get an area for your Highlights of the week as well as space for writing information about your posts if they're your favourites - an outline, the date it was published and a checklist for making sure you've advertised your new post on all channels possible. 



When it comes to monthly, there's a lot of space for a variety of things which I'm loving. There's a great space for you to keep track of stats and followers so you can compare them over the course of the year and even a small area for your outgoings which I've used for any items I've brought specifically to review or blog about or to use for blogging. 





There's also a full page for hauls - as you can see I've just started a list of items I've purchased and I want to be able to do a monthly haul type post so this is a great way of remembering what I've brought (as I'm sure there will be more than I can remember!). You too get a full page for content ideas as well as Favourites and notes at the end of each month for posts for the coming month. 




Finally, a goal page sits at the front of the planner so you can start a new year with a new set of goals whether it be to post a certain amount of times, or hit a certain amount of followers. I've added a few and I'm looking forward to taking a look back in a few months or at the end of the year. 


The only little niggle I have is that it took some time for delivery, a good couple of weeks but I'd rather wait a little longer and have a gorgeous personalised planner like this one, and it also took me some time to look through and learn about what everything is for - but that's only because I've only been blogging for about 18 months and I don't also use all the social media platforms so I'm sure most other people would find these areas more useful than I.

If you've had a blog planner, I'd love to know tips and tricks how to get the most out of my new little beauty plus I want to be nosey and see what designs you've gone for ;) 



Friday, 8 January 2016

My latest obsession: Sleeveless Coats

You know when you look at a part of your wardrobe area (or my coat stand in this instance) and you think, I own way too many of pretty much the same thing.. I had one of these moments while clearing out this week and I've realised my latest obsession is sleeveless coats! 

My first was purchased last Summer after reading Hannah Magg/Michalak's blog which featured this funky faux fur jacket from Zara - I did go to about 4 different Zara's to get it but I love it for a night out or an occasion where you can get a bit more dressed up. £70 is quite extravagant but I'm glad I invested as I've worn it so much over the last few months. 


Late last Summer I picked up this all black jersey material jacket from New Look for about £9 in the sale - it went perfectly with just a vest top underneath or a white short sleeve flowy blouse. It's really lightweight so was good for the warmer months. The only downfall with this one is that it doesn't have any pockets and I hate not having a jacket/cardigan/coat with no pockets. 


So in Blackpool half way through December, I picked up a pair of Boots in New Look and as I walked out the shop, I saw this by the door, stopped and walked away. An hour later I was back in New Look buying the damn thing for £26. The mustard colour, despite my first thoughts, actually go with so much - I wore it to a bloggers event with a white jumper and jeans and Ugg Boots, but then I wore it over Christmas with a black jumper and leggings with heels. 


For Christmas Day I got this gorgeous faux fur and suede jacket from River Island from my Dad and Step Mum! It's really nice for a night out or special occasion over Winter and I've already worn it with all black outfits as well as a dark red jumper with jeans, and a long sleeve black blouse with leggings. It also has a zip and belt to make you extra snug! 


Finally, my latest boxing day / January sale bargain was a dark grey with silver military style button jacket (which was also featured in my Sale Haul post thank you very much ;)). It was only £11 in the sale and like the mustard jacket from New Look, it's a really good jacket as it's sturdy and quite a heavy item so it's great for all year around and perfect over a casual or dressier jumper with a chunky necklace on either a night out, date night, a few drinks down the pub or just a girly day shopping! The grey makes it a bit more smarter so I'm definitely all about the black and whites with this one. 


What other fashion obsessions do I need to be about this year? Tweet me links to what clothes you're loving already in 2016! 



Monday, 4 January 2016

January Sale Haul!

Only a little haul but I had quite a few vouchers for Christmas and while I was in town today for a meeting, I thought I'd get some fresh air and go for a mooch now everyone's gone back to work and school. 

First up I used my Monsoon voucher.. well, I don't often go to Monsoon as it's a bit pricey but I managed to use it in Accessorise on this super cute necklace for Spring and a keyring to cover the last £2. Not bad for £10 for both eh ;) 


Nick got me a New Look voucher (clearly knows me so well, favourite shop by far!) and I picked up a new sleeveless coat.. my latest obsession! It's a gorgeous dark grey colour with military style silver buttons. It's quite a heavy one so it'll be great for the next few months with a jumper underneath. I've not really done scarves this winter for the first time - normally I'm scarf mad and I have a whole coat stand just for scarves. This winter's scarf, courtesy of New Look is big enough to be a picnic blanket but it's super soft and neutral colours to go with anything. The jacket was £11 and the scarf £9. 


So I debated putting these in as I've actually returned them as a) they sent me the wrong colour and b) they didn't fit anyway! But I was reading Sam over at Little Fickle's blog about the January sales and some similar were mentioned and I'd been debating them for ages so while they were only £12 instead of £20, I went for it. I'm gutted though as they didn't suit me as I have quite big legs so they didn't look right at all :( *Heartbroken emoji*


Not that I needed anymore candles whatsoever after getting like 6 for Christmas, I actually went into Boots first thing boxing day morning an hour before I started and managed to pick up 2 large Yankee Candles, both half price; Christmas Cookie and Snow in Love. The one I really wanted was my favourite winter one this year; Snowflake Cookie so when I went into our new Percy Thrower Garden Centre and saw the large ones were £9.50, I couldn't resist getting one before they all sold out. I know it's not christmas anymore, but this was my favourite candle this season. 


Finally, with a HMV voucher I picked up the Not Going Out boxset. I have one boxset which is Series 1-4 and 5-7 were £12.99 each so with the 1-7 with Christmas specials and bonus features discs being £14.99, I'd be stupid not to buy this one to watch the last 3 Series with Nick and eBay the original set I had. Can't wait to get stuck in and see what happens! 



There's a few other bits I've got my eye including a new Laptop and potentially a camera for blogging and travelling this year as well as to use to build a MUA portfolio but I'm still trying to do some last minute research before Very finish their 60% off sale! 

Where else do I need to look for some good January sale bargains? What has everyone else managed to pick up with their Christmas money? Links please!