Sunday, 28 June 2015

Writing For Blogosphere Magazine


Blogosphere Magazine Marcus Butler Issue 6

Blogosphere Issue 6 £4 (Print) / £3 (e-book)


Blogosphere Magazine is a magazine written by bloggers about bloggers which also covers the topic of blogging itself. If you happen to be a blogger yourself or love a good blog reading session then Blogosphere Magazine is the publication for you.

Each issue has a blogger or YouTuber as cover star, with this issue's being YouTuber Marcus Butler and enclosed is a full spread featuring them. There are several blog related articles and features, which is where I come in, as well as a section on some of the big blogging genres such as beauty, fashion, lifestyle, photography, travel and food.

Blogosphere Magazine Review

I was given the opportunity to write a piece entitled 'YouTube Vs TV', which starts on page 75, if you already happen to have a copy and I was literally brimming with ideas as to what I would like to cover within my feature. 
I won't go into too much detail in today's post as it really did take me the full two pages to dissect and discuss the differences in how people are choosing to consume YouTube and TV but I'd definitely recommend giving it a read. I would say that now wouldn't I? Hehe. What are your thoughts on YouTube Vs TV?

Blogosphere Magazine Feature Article

To actually see my writing and a whole article at that, in print and to be able to hold it and show my friends and family is a very big thing for me. I've been an avid writer ever since I was a child and even studied English at University, so to be able to pursue writing as a result of starting this here blog is really incredible. I've yet to take a trip to my local WH Smith to see it on the shelves but I will definitely be making a trip specifically to do that soon. And I also must finally get around to treating myself to some of the earlier issues of Blogosphere Magazine too, especially as I adored issue 6 as much as I did.


YouTube Vs TV Article Feature

As I briefly mentioned above, regardless of what kinds of blogs you read, be it beauty, fashion, lifestyle, photography or food, there really is something for everyone in Blogosphere Magazine. What really enamours me to the way that Blogosphere Magazine is set out is the fact that bloggers, who are particularly successful in their field, are editors of each of the individual blogging sections. So for example you've got Tattooed Tea Lady sharing her five favourite beauty bloggers and Milk Bubble Tea editing the lifestyle section. That really gives it a special bloggers touch for me and allows for many different and distinct blogs to be discovered. I've already added quite a number from a whole host of genres to my reading list as a result of flicking through this issue.

Chroma Stationery Notebook

And I jotted down all of my notes for my Blogosphere feature, as well as some exciting ideas for upcoming posts in my personalised notebook from Chroma Stationery. 

Chroma Stationery, just in case you haven't already heard of them, are a brand that specialise in beautiful and fully customisable notebooks. From the binding, to the colour, to whether you would like blank or lined pages, you really can design your very own notebook from scratch and make it look exactly as you would like it to. And as if that wasn't exciting enough, you can then have whatever you would like, be that a quote, your name or your blog header if you're anything like me, embossed onto the front of your new notebook. And this is at no extra charge. And then there are even more choices to be made. You can choose from white, gold or silver embossing and pick one that really compliments the notebook that you've created and you can also choose whatever font you would like it in. It's essentially a blogger's dream, especially if you've always wanted to have one notebook dedicated to all things blog related instead of relying on scrap pieces of paper and the memo section on your phone, like I so often do. For £8.50 for all of this it's easy to see why I'm more than a little obsessed with Chroma Stationery.


My notebook is the Ryton Spiral Bound in the colour black (Flynn)* with silver embossing and as you can see, I went for my blog's header on the front. What would you emboss onto your Chroma Stationery notebook?

Have you heard of Blogosphere Magazine before? And have you picked up issue 6 yet? If so, what did you think of my thoughts on 'YouTube Vs TV'?

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Friday, 26 June 2015

The Month of June


Desktop Calendar 2015 Illustration

Instead of my usual 'What I've Been Watching' post, which I've written every single month since I started Ellis Tuesday, I felt like switching it up a bit without losing track of it altogether. So I've decided to do a 'The Month of...' series where I share what I've been watching as well as what I've been up to that month and what blog posts have really caught my eye too. As always, please let me know what you think of this new take on my month, particularly if you were a fan of my original 'What I've Been Watching' posts.

Let's get to it then. Here is 'The Month of June';

Best TV Shows 2015

What I've Been Watching:
Orange Is The New Black - So OITNB started back this month. I was always going to end up binge watching it now wasn't I? Season three, a bit like the prior two seasons, has it's ups and downs but as with the other two, there are definitely more ups than downs. To say that a lot goes on in season three would be a bit of an understatement but to avoid any spoilers, all I have to say is, if you haven't yet seen Orange Is The New Black yet then I would seriously check it out and try your best to stick with it. When I first started watching it it did take a couple of episodes for it to truly grip me but once it did I was more than a little addicted. Oh and just in case you think that it might be a good show to watch with the rest of your family or your parents, well I would seriously reconsider that. It's definitely NSFW! Hehe. I reviewed the first two seasons last year (here) if you want to hear more about my thoughts on it.

The Affair - Another show that I've been watching religiously this month has been The AffairWhat I really like about the show is the fact that each and every episode is split into two. The first half of the episode is told from Noah's point of view whilst the second is told from Alison's. Noah (Dominic West) and Alison (Ruth Wilson) are the ones involved in the affair, as the name would suggest and both have quite a lot going on in their own lives. The acting truly is superb, especially when it comes to Noah and Alison and their spouses played by Maura Tierney and Joshua Jackson respectively. There are two more episodes left to air here and I really can't wait to see how it all concludes. There's definitely a bit of True Detective vibe to it in the fact that there is a shift between the present day and what happened in the past to lead them where they are now. Talking of True Detective, I have a feeling that in next month's 'The Month of...' post I'll be sharing some of my thoughts on the new season of that. Has anyone else started it yet?

The Syndicate - This is a show that I have a lot of love for. The first two seasons of The Syndicate were brilliant so I had a feeling that the third would be just as good, if not better and I certainly wasn't wrong. You don't need to have seen the previous two seasons to watch the third but what does link the three is the fact that each revolves around a syndicate, as the name might allude to, who have just won the lottery. We get to see what effect the win has on their lives and a lot of the time the winners have more than a few skeletons in their closets. This season has been even more exciting and intriguing as Amy, one of the winners' daughters, mysteriously disappears on the night of the win. There are two episodes left of the season and I can't wait to see how it all ends. You can catch up with all of it over on the BBC iPlayer and I would definitely recommend that you do, especially before the season is over.


What I've Been Reading:
New York: A Little Rundown - It's no secret that I've always been utterly besotted with New York, that much so that I've even got an entire Pinterest board dedicated to all things NYC (link here). So when I saw that Kate (aka. Gh0stparties) was visiting I pretty much stalked her Instagram, even more than I normally do, to see what she would be getting up to over there. There's been plenty of NYC posts over on her blog since she got back, all of which I have absolutely adored but my favourite has to be this recap post. I now feel even more propelled to pay the Big Apple a visit sooner rather than later.
Five Guys Glasgow - Unsure of whether or not to treat yo' self to a Five Guys over here in the UK? Then Charlotte at Colour and Carousels' review is a must-read, as is her entire Great Glasgow Burgerthon series which is just brilliant by the way. If you love yourself a good burger then made sure to check it out!
Bourbon BBQ Chicken Burgers & Apple SlawClearly I'm having a bit of a burger moment when it comes to my blog reading this month since this post by Gillian at Elevatormusik immediately caught my eye. The burgers look and sound amazing and as always from Gillian, the photography is absolutely stunning. I'm getting hungry just thinking about them.
Benefit Operation Pore Proof Kit - Having heard a lot of buzz about Benefit's brand new release; the Porefessional License To Blot, I was really excited to see Sandra at The Black Pearl Blog review the new Operation Pore Proof Kit. It also includes what looks like a gorgeous new highlighter, Shy Beam and Sandra has definitely tempted me to check out this adorable little kit.
Five Things I'm Bored Of In Blogging - Hayley (aka. The London Beauty Queen) always writes such incredible blog posts and this post is no different. If you're not following her already then get yourself over to her blog ASAP! I think if you're a blogger yourself then you will probably find yourself chuckling along as you read the 'Five Things' Hayley is bored of seeing in blogging. And if you read a lot of beauty blogs, like I do, it will make you smile when you think just how often you see some of these blogging tropes appear.
Lush Oxford Street Haul - Ever since Lush Oxford Street opened it's doors a few weeks ago I have been thinking up ideas for a trip down to London just so I can pay this very special store a visit. Seeing Sian's haul post this month has made me want to get on a train down to London even more so than ever before. All I know is that The Comforter in shower cream form has to make it's way into my life soon!
Blake Lively Tutorial - When I first saw Anoushka's Instagram post showcasing her Blake Lively-esque look I had to do a double take to make sure I wasn't seeing things. I was like when did I start following Blake Lively on Instagram? Just how incredible does Anoushka look and hasn't she really nailed Blake's make-up and look?! 
Things Horror Films Have Ruined For Me - And last but not least, my favourite blog post of the month. As a huge horror film fan this post was such a great read and I completely get where Charlotte is coming from with this list. Creep definitely ruined travelling via Subway for me for quite some time and I also always make a bee line for the horror movie section on Netflix too.

Glasgow Instagram 2015 June

What I've Been Up To:
Benefit's #RealColours Event - This Monday I had the absolute pleasure of attending a top secret Benefit event in my local House of Fraser. We were treated to Champagne, cupcarons (yes that's right, a cupcake/macaron hybrid) and a demonstration of the newest Benefit launches; the They're Real! colours. I even had a They're Real! colour makeover with the brand new brown liner and mascara and was blown away by the difference it made to my blue eyes. You can definitely expect a full review of two of them this Wednesday.

Visiting Museums - On Wednesday my dad and I spent the day at two of Glasgow's biggest museums; The Riverside Museum and Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum. Having never visited The Riverside Museum we went there first, followed by my favourite museum in Glasgow; Kelvingrove. As a child I spent most of the summer holidays visiting museums with my dad and my brother so it brought back a lot of good memories of those days. I will be writing up a full post on my day at the museums very soon as part of a little guide to Glasgow I'm putting together. Does that sound like something you would like to read?

Hospitals, GP appointments & Blood Tests - Sadly it hasn't been all fun and games this month as I've been pretty unwell for most of it. I feel like I've spent more time in hospital and doctor's waiting rooms this month than anything else and I even had to miss a blog event that I had been looking forward to for weeks last night as I was unable to even move from my bed. The annoying thing is that like usual with me, nothing at all has been resolved so expect more of the same from me next month I bet.

So what do you think of my 'The Month of...' series idea? Is it something that you've enjoyed reading? And what have you been up to this month? What have you been watching? And what blog posts have really caught your eye this June?

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Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Step Outside With French Sole x Birchbox


Birchbox June 2015 UK

Birchbox (June 2015)* £10 (Plus P&P)

As you might remember if you saw last month's Birchbox review (link here), I was blown away by the creative art therapy/adult colouring concept and was pleasantly surprised by the beauty samples included too. So when the June Birchbox arrived at my door I couldn't wait to open it to see exactly where they would be taking the theming next. And as soon as I saw the Breton stripes and pretty red heart design I had a feeling that it was going to be another winner for me. It was also really exciting to see that this month's Birchbox was in partnership with French Sole. I can't be the only one who has been lusting over a pair of French Sole ballet flats for at least a good few years now, now can I?

Birchbox French Sole June 2015 UK

From left to right: Top Row: Cowshed Gorgeous Cow Blissful Body Lotion (Full Size £20) - Pixi by Petra Shea Butter Lip Balm £8 - REN Instant Firming Beauty Shot (Full Size £36)
Bottom Row: Beauty Protector Protect & Detangle (Full Size £14) - Penhaligon's Iris Prima Eau de Parfum (Full Size £88) - Stylondon Metallic Tattoos £7.99

The June Birchbox contains two full sized products, the Pixi by Petra Shea Butter Lip Balm and the Stylondon Metallic Tattoos and four sample sized products. Again, much like last month's box, there is one more beauty sample included in the box than the Birchbox site promises. And then there's another surprise, one I will go into further detail about below but back to the beauty samples themselves. 

First of all, I was so happy to see a Pixi by Petra Lip Balm included in this month's box. It's one of those items that I've always wanted to try that I've just never got around to buying and the shade that I received looks really beautiful on the lips. The next thing to catch my eye, when I first opened the box, were the Stylondon Metallic Tattoos. This is a trend that I've been contemplating looking into but I didn't want to fully commit to just in case they looked a bit juvenile on me, so to see them included in the Birchbox was fantastic timing. I've yet to try them out yet but expect an Instagram shot when I do. They really do look chic and stylish, which I definitely appreciate. I've also heard great things about Cowshed and Ren so I'm certainly looking forward to integrating them into my current beauty routine. Then there are two brands that I've never heard of before. Penhaligon's Iris Prima Parfum is incredibly sophisticated and fragrant and at £88 for a full size bottle I wouldn't expect anything less. I'm also always incredibly keen to try out any detangling sprays and products so to see Beauty Protector's Protect & Detangle was nice too. This is a Birchbox Exclusive, a bit like PARLOR by Jeff Chastain was last month, which is a fantastic touch from the Birchbox brand.

French Sole x Birchbox Shoe Bag

And as if all that wasn't enough, tucked at the bottom of the box was the exact same gorgeous Breton stripe design that I fell in love with when I first opened the box but this time in shoe bag form. When I pulled it out to discover that it was in fact a French Sole shoe bag I was honestly over the moon. I've never even thought about purchasing a shoe bag before but it really is ideal for travel or just for keeping a pair of my most special flats in perfect condition. And maybe just maybe, French Sole are giving me a little subtle nudge to buy the flats to match the bag and the box. Hehe. This really did add something incredibly special to the box for me and the fact that it matched the Breton striped Birchbox design really did make me smile.

There are three different limited edition box designs to choose from for the French Sole x Birchbox collaboration box; Breton stripes, watercolour florals and what looks like liquorice allsorts. Who wouldn't want all three?

So what do you think of May's Birchbox? Have you tried any of the products enclosed in this month's box before? Are you subscribed to any beauty boxes? And do you happen to own any shoe bags?

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Sunday, 21 June 2015

Father's Day Takeover (My Dad's Picks)


Beauty, Fragrance, Shampoo Suggestions For Men

Since it's Father's Day today, I asked my dad if he would mind sharing some of his favourite fragrances and beauty products on the blog and he happily obliged. I thought that it would be a nice take on the Father's Day theme without doing something like a traditional gift guide. So today it's Ellis Tuesday but with quite a bit of input from my dad, who I must say has given me some great notes on each of his favourite products.

First up is haircare. After being very kindly gifted some haircare products to put to the test since starting Ellis Tuesday, this led my dad to discover these fantastic shampoos, all of which have quickly became must-haves for him.

Best Shampoo For Men

Richard Ward Keratin Volume Shampoo* £3.99 (Normally £5.99) - Richard Ward Keratin Sleek Shampoo* £3.99 (Normally £5.99) - Klorane Chamomile Shampoo £5.97

Since starting using these three shampoos in particular, my dad has seen a massive improvement in the amount of hair growth and thickness, over that period of time. And he certainly attributes all of that to these three shampoos. He alternates between the three and now swears by them and what he really loves about them is the fact that they don't have a strong scent nor do they 'go all foamy'. His words as I say. They leave him with squeaky clean hair without there being an excessive amount of lather either. He would definitely recommend both the Richard Ward Keratin range of shampoos and the Klorane Chamomile Shampoo to any men, or women,  in a similar situation regarding hair growth and thickness.

Next up; all things shaving related.

Best Shaving Products

Lush D'Fluff Strawberry Shaving Soap* £5.75
This is a universal favourite in our household but I couldn't, or more like my dad couldn't, mention the topic of shaving and not mention Lush's D'Fluff. Despite being billed as a strawberry scent it's not as sweet or overpowering as you might imagine. We would definitely recommend that you take a trip to your local Lush store to see if it's for you, scent-wise. It just leaves the skin so soft and nourished.

Avene Homme Shaving Foam* £7.60
Can you tell that my love of all things French Pharmacy related has rubbed off on the rest of my household? Hehe. Avene's shaving foam has a distinctly masculine scent without being too pungent and according to my dad, it's really smooth and creamy and you don't need a lot of product either. This is what he reaches for most when he goes to shave.

Nuxe Men Survival Kit* £5.66 (Was £8.50)
And again we have another French Pharmacy favourite of a brand; Nuxe. Despite being pretty reluctant to start or pay much attention to a skincare regime of sorts, this Survival Kit from Nuxe Men really has come in handy according to my dad. There's a shaving gel
a multi-use shower gel and a moisturising multi-purpose gel, all of which have such a wonderful scent. The shower gel in particular has been a big hit with my dad and he's already looking forward to treating himself to a full size bottle of the stuff soon.

And last but not least, we move on to fragrance.

Best Male Scents

Lacoste Eau de Lacoste L.12.12 Jaune EDT* £39
Despite my dad's adoration for all things Aramis, as I will go on to describe to you below, he's also discovered two new-found fragrance favourites, both of which he says are particularly unique. Lacoste's Jaune is a bottle that you would have trouble misplacing due to the fantasticly bright yellow exterior. It's also got that trademark Lacoste alligator on the front of it and is a scent that my dad describes as clean and fresh without being too intense.

HUGO BOSS BOSS Bottled Intense EDT* £45
Then there's Hugo Boss' BOSS Bottled Intense which we both like to think of as the Gerard Butler fragrance. Hehe. Our local shopping centre, Silverburn, has a huge poster of Gerry draped across the entrance so that's why he immediately comes to mind and of course as he's the face of the fragrance. This is a subtle and sophisticated scent for my dad and is one that reminds him of being on holiday for some reason too. I completely get that feeling though, don't you? There are so many scents that just remind me of a place or a feeling even though I'm normally sure that this is the first time that I'm smelling that particular fragrance or perfume.

Aramis Classic Spray EDT £43.50
As you might have seen if you happened to catch Wednesday's Father's Day gifting post (link here), the one fail safe gift I know that I can get my dad and he will always appreciate has to be Aramis. Be it Christmas, Father's Day or his birthday, he loves the classic scent, one that hasn't changed at all over the years that he's been wearing it. Escentual currently have the 60ml Eau De Toilette and the matching 24 Hour Antiperspirant Spray, which I featured in Wednesday's post, for £22. Considering the EDT is normally around £44 on it's own, I would definitely say go for the gift set. It would also make the perfect gift for your dad or significant other too.

And let me finish by saying, Happy Father's Day dad!

What did you think of this kind of post? And would you like to see more posts like this in the future? How are you spending this Father's Day?

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Friday, 19 June 2015

Degustabox: May Box (With Exclusive Discount Code)


Degustabox May 2015 Review

Last month's Degustabox, the April International Box (review here), was by far the best Degustabox that I've had the pleasure of trying, so I had a feeling that this month's box might not quite live up to the previous one and in a way, I was kind of right, at least for me anyway.

As with every Degustabox review that I do, I have a fantastic and exclusive discount code for you to use to take £3 off the £12.99 price tag. All you have to do is enter the code 00ZK4 when you register. 

So what exactly does the May Box comprise of, well let's see;

Degustabox Review May 2015

From left to right: Top Row: Maggi So Stir Fry Singapore Curry Chicken Noodles - Slim Pasta Lasagne - Sweet Baby Ray's Barbecue Sauce
Bottom Row: Sweet Baby Ray's Barbecue Sauce - Schwartz Grill Mates Honey & Soy Marinade in a Bag - Maggi So Stir Fry Oriental 3 Spice Chicken Noodles


May 2015 Degustabox

From left to right: Top Row: Sarsons Balsamic Vinegar - Green Coco Kid's Coco Juice & Banana - Daelmans Stroopwafels
Bottom Row: Fuel 10K Protibrick - 9 Bar Fruity

As I mentioned above, I think the fact that this month's box didn't include any sweet treats, beers or ciders, like the last couple of month's did, left me feeling a little bit disheartened about the May box but there are still some great brands and products included, ones that the rest of my family enjoyed much more than last month's. That's the thing with Degustabox, especially if you share it with your family or friends, there really is something for everyone. May's box was touted as being a bit of a Bank Holiday/BBQ box but unfortunately I'm not a huge BBQ fan (pause for shock and horror to pass), howevere the rest of my family love a good BBQ so this box was right up there street. It certainly catered for them and I can imagine, many other BBQ fans and they've definitely discovered some firm favourites as a result of trying them in this month's box.

Sweet Baby Ray's Barbecue Sauce has quickly become a holy grail item in our household, especially with the weather being that much warmer and it's a good thing that a full bottle and a little sachet of the stuff was included in this month's box as they've almost finished the bottle already. The Schwartz Grill Mates Marinade has also went down a storm in our household too but my favourite products from this box have to be the Maggi So Stir Fry Noodles. I'm definitely a big fan of chicken noodles like these, particularly when I'm in a rush or can't be bothered making anything too fancy for lunch or dinner. And then there's the Daelmans Stroopwafels. They certainly add something to your normal cup of tea or coffee. The only items that we haven't yet put to the test are the Fuel 10K Protibricks but both my mum and brother have vowed to try them out very soon.

So what do you think of this month's box?  Have you tried any of the products featured in May's box before? And have you had a BBQ yet this year?

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Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Celebrating Father's Day With St. Enoch


Father's Day Shopping 2015

Today's post marks the first of two dedicated to all things Father's Day this week. On Sunday my dad will be sharing his favourite beauty products but today it's all about Father's Day presents. So here's what I bought for my dad and hopefully this should give you some inspiration for your Father's Day gifting, especially if you've not started your shopping for him just yet.

Happy Jackson Blue 'Touch My Tools' Tool Box

Happy Jackson Blue 'Touch My Tools' Tool Box (from Debenhams)* £15

I started my search for Father's Day gifts in the one shop that I could easily spend hours and hours in and so often do; Debenhams. I headed straight to the homewear section where they had an impressive array of Father's Day stands but as soon as I got out of the lift my eyes were instantly met by a bright blue object off in the distance. It wasn't until I got a little bit closer that I realised that not only was it a brilliantly blue tool box but it was also by one of my favourite stationery and homewear brands; Happy Jackson. I couldn't think of a more perfect start to my Father's Day shopping trip. 

Father's Day Gift Guide 2015

Aramis Classic 24hr Anti Perspirant Spray (from Boots)* £17.50

Now what's a trip to the St. Enoch Centre without a pit-stop in Boots? I knew exactly what I was looking for, which isn't always the case as an easily distracted beauty fanatic, since this is the one fragrance that my dad has worn pretty much since he was a teenager. Aramis is always my go-to scent when it comes to birthday, Christmas and Father's Day gifting. And you can find out a lot more about my dad's love for the classic Aramis scent this upcoming Sunday but until then I'll just say, I know for definite that this will get put to good use and that it's something that he will really wear, unlike a pair of novelty socks. Boots have some incredible deals on Father's Day fragrances and gifts so if you've not yet picked up something for your dad's Father's Day I would certainly recommend starting there.

Yankee Candle Midsummers Night Car Vent Sticks (from Yankee Scotland)* £3.99

Next up I headed along to another of my favourite shops in St. Enoch; Yankee Scotland and as you will have seen if you saw Sunday's post (link here), I am quite the Yankee Candle fan. Whilst it's normally myself and my mum who pick out which candle to add to our collection next, I knew that my dad would really appreciate a bit of Yankee Candle goodness in his car. These vent sticks really are ingenious and look and smell so much better than traditional car air fresheners do. As it was for my dad I made sure to steer clear of anything too sweet or floral, which is why I went for Midsummers Night. If your dad is the type of man who treats his car like it's another member of the family then I have a feeling that he will seriously appreciate this kind of gift.

American Sniper DVD (from Tesco Metro)* £10 - I Heart Dad Card (from Tesco Metro)* £1

I then stumbled across two more perfect presents for my dad whilst dashing into Tesco Metro to grab a cold drink. My dad has been talking about seeing American Sniper for months now, probably ever since it was first released in cinemas and when he heard it was out on DVD he did say to me that he would need to buy it. So when I saw it whilst standing in line with a bottle of Fanta in hand, I made a quick beeline for it before anyone else took my place in line. And then in an adjoining stand I saw a whole host of Father's Day cards. This one was cheap and cheerful and I also liked the little metallic heart detailing. Is it bad that I also bought it as I knew that it would photograph well for this particular post? Hehe. 

Treacle Special Toffee Bag (from Thorntons)* £3

And last but not least, some sweet treats from Thorntons. These are my dad's favourites and again, Thorntons had some great Father's Day specific gifts and chocolates. I was definitely tempted to buy him a personalised chocolate trophy but I had a feeling I was getting a bit carried away being surrounded by that much chocolate. Hehe.

So there you have it. What do you think of the presents that I picked out for my dad at the St. Enoch Centre this year? Have you started or finished your Father's Day shopping yet? And if so, what did you treat your dad to?

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Sunday, 14 June 2015

A Yankee Candle Summer Haul


Yankee Candle Summer Haul

To say that my Yankee Candle obsession is getting a little out of hand might be a bit of an understatement, as you might be able to tell from today's post. I only used to treat myself and my loved ones to Yankee Candles at Christmas-time and that had a lot to do with my love of the Christmas Eve and Christmas Cookie scents but I just had to pick up these summery scents after smelling them. 

I also must start by saying that I didn't purchase all of these in one shopping trip as there's definitely no way that I would have been able to carry them all at one time. Hehe. These have all been purchased over the last month or so and were the ones to catch my eye or may I say my nose recently.

Yankee Candle Summer Scoop Review

Yankee Candle Summer Scoop Large Jar £19.99

Summer Scoop was the first candle that I picked up a few months ago and as soon as I gave it a sniff I knew that I would be taking it home with me. I don't know about you but when it comes to value for money I tend to go for the large jars, especially if it's a scent that I know not only I but my entire family will enjoy burning too and that's what happened with the majority of this haul. 

This smells exactly like you would expect it to. I'm a big fan of berry scents with strawberries and raspberries being my very favourite. The only problem with this particular scent is that as soon as I smell it I instantly want to start eating a big bowl of strawberry ice cream which is never a good thing for me or my waistline. Hehe.

Yankee Candle Pain Au Raisin Review

Yankee Candle Pain Au Raisin Large Jar £19.99

Pain Au Raisin is part of the brand new Cafe Culture collection which was released just last month and it appears that this is a bit of a love it or hate it scent when it comes to my friends and family anyway. Out of everyone that I've asked to give this scent a sniff not one of them has been a huge fan of it like I am. For me it's just absolutely gorgeous and instantly makes me feel warm and cosy. Despite being a summer scent according to Yankee Candle, I'm not too sure if I'll be burning this during the warmer months. It definitely feels more like an autumnal scent than anything else.

Regardless of when I start burning it, I can't wait to fill my living room or bedroom up with such a wonderful, almost bakery type smell. If you're a fan of vanilla based scents, I would certainly recommend giving this a sniff on your next trip to a Yankee Candle store. And it's not just your typical vanilla based candle either. There's a mix of cinnamon (which I usually steer clear of but with this it's simply divine), cognac and raisins, that all in all add up to a fantastic and unique fragrance.

Yankee Candle Strawberry Buttercream Review

Yankee Candle Strawberry Buttercream Large Jar £19.99

This candle was actually purchased by my mum, for the both of us to enjoy, on a shopping trip a good few months ago now. I'm not entirely sure why we had made a pitstop in Clintons but of course we were going to find ourselves lured over to the Yankee Candle stand before we knew it.

Again, Strawberry Buttercream smells exactly like you would imagine it to. It's incredibly sweet without being too overpowering or sickly and it just makes me smile any time that I have given it a quick sniff. I think that we will definitely be burning this next once we finish our large jar of Fireside Treats.

Yankee Candle Pink Sands Review

Yankee Candle Pink Sands Votive £1.80

Next up are two of the votive candles. As I mentioned above, I tend to purchase the large jars when it comes to scents that I fall head over heels in love with but I happened to be out shopping with a friend when she spotted the fantastic 10 votives for £10 deal in our local Yankee Scotland store. She asked if I wanted to pick two as she thought eight might be more than enough for her. Hehe. So I went for two scents that I wouldn't normally go for but something about them really did win me over.

Pink Sands is hard to describe. I always find it harder to describe when the name of the candle doesn't exactly spell it out for me. Does anyone else find that? There's definitely a hint of citrus yet it's still unbelievably fresh and fragrant.

Yankee Candle Lake Sunset Review

Yankee Candle Lake Sunset Votive £1.80

And last but not least is Lake Sunset. Again this is pretty hard to describe and is in the same vein as Pink Sands except this candle has more of a floral kick to it. It's the kind that you definitely need to smell to truly experience.

I was really surprised to find out that each of the votives provide up to fifteen hours of fragrance. This means if you're not exactly sure which one to go for or don't want to commit to one of the larger sizes then you can really put some of the fragrances to the test.

So what do you think of the scents that I've picked up recently? Are you a Yankee Candle fan? If so, what are your favourite candles? And have you smelled or treated yourself to any of the candles in today's post before?


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Friday, 12 June 2015

My Orlando, Florida Travel Tips: Downtown Disney (How to do Disney without a Park ticket)


How to do Disney with a Park ticket

As you can imagine, when it comes to booking a holiday and everything that comes along with it, the expenses quickly start to build up, especially w
hen it comes to Orlando, Florida. First there's the flights, then there's the accommodation, then there's the spending money for all that shopping and eating out and last but not least; park tickets. If it's your first visit to Orlando or one of your main reasons for visiting is the fact that there are theme parks, water parks and animal reserves, then I have a feeling you will be visiting at least one, if not many, of Florida's parks. And this all soon adds up. Don't get me wrong, there are some great deals to be had on park tickets, if you shop around or have a bit of insider knowledge (let me know if you'd like me to do a full blog post on this) but unless you've won the lottery it is pretty difficult to cram everything into your Florida vacation. But if you're a Disney obsessive and you've already done the Disney parks before or even if you're not too keen on the rides at the parks but are more interested in the Disney experience, that's when Downtown Disney is the place to go.

Downtown Disney, soon to be renamed and re branded as Disney Springs, is located on Walt Disney World property, minutes away from Lake Buena Vista and is completely free to visit. Parking is free, which can't always be said for tourist areas and theme parks in and around the Orlando area, and you don't even need a Disney parks ticket to visit.

I visited last October, whilst there was quite a considerable amount of construction going on but even in the midst of a massive renovation Downtown Disney still made me smile like the Cheshire Cat. Downtown Disney basically consists of shopping, dining and entertainment and is the perfect place to spend an evening or afternoon whilst on your trip to Orlando. Some of the notable attractions include Planet Hollywood, Cirque du Soleil's La Nouba, the Lego Imagination Center, Rainforest Cafe and Fulton's Crab House Riverboat Restaurant but here are my top five things to do and see whilst at Downtown Disney (in no particular order);

Downtown Disney World Of Disney Princess

World Of Disney

World Of Disney, aka. the largest Disney store in the world, was our main motivation for checking out Downtown Disney last year, despite us having been to Orlando, Florida around ten times before. And thank goodness we finally decided to see what all the fuss was about. You will literally find any Disney related memorabilia, characters or gifts that you could ever imagine in this giant Disney store. Honestly, if you are a Disney fan of any age or shopping for a major Disney obsessive back home, then you will be absolutely spoiled for choice in World Of Disney. I could honestly have spent hundreds and hundreds of dollars in there but I did manage to limit myself to one purchase, this gorgeous pair of rose gold Mickey earrings (link here). But don't get me wrong, I'm already saving for my next trip over and this time I will make sure to budget for a rather extensive and I can imagine, expensive, shopping trip in World Of Disney.

TOP TIP: TAKE A SELFIE WITH A DISNEY PRINCESS: At the entrance to World Of Disney near the lake there are two Disney princesses at either side. 
This really is an ideal opportunity for Disney princess fans of all ages to have their photo taken with either Cinderella or Aurora (as pictured).

Disney's Candy Cauldron Downtown Disney

Disney's Candy Cauldron

If you take the time to stop and stare at one store and one store alone at Downtown Disney, make it Candy Cauldron. I seriously don't know the last time that I pressed my hands and face up to a shop window, like a small child would but that's exactly what happened as soon as I spotted Candy Cauldron.

Downtown Disney Candy Cauldron Apples

Seeing Disney masterpieces being created right in front of your eyes is so incredible. That incredible that I genuinely stood for a good fifteen minutes or so watching a tray of Olaf candy apples being created from start to beginning. 

How many candy apple characters can you spot in the background? 

I also had the great fortune of visiting Downtown Disney a few weeks before Halloween so there were plenty of Halloween specific designs that really did blow me away.

Downtown Disney Candy Cauldron Apple

But my absolute favourite had to be Snow White's poisoned apple. Now how amazing does that look?!

Downtown Disney Quest

Disney Quest

Next up is Disney Quest and whilst I did say that Downtown Disney was free to visit and it most definitely is since you don't need a park ticket, Disney Quest can cost in the range of $40-50 depending on the time you visit. But and this is a big but, if you're not doing any of the Disney parks, this could be the best way to get that Disney theme park experience for a fraction of the price of a regular park ticket so you have to look at it that way really.

Disney Quest is an indoor interactive theme park, or at least that's how Disney themselves describe it and it's packed full of fun to be had. There's a Virtual Jungle Cruise, which will no doubt be a hit with fans of the Magic Kingdom ride, Buzz Lightyear's AstroBlaster, a Pirates of the Caribbean ride and even an Animation Academy. And on top of that there is a massive arcade with arcade games, air hockey, Skeeball and "shoot the hoops." This really is the perfect antidote to a rainy day or afternoon in Orlando, Florida and trust me, you'll probably experience at least one of those regardless of the time of year that you visit.

Downtown Disney T-Rex Restaurant

T-Rex

First of all, let me start by saying, if you're not a fan of themed restaurants or find them a little cheesy or unnecessary then T-Rex is not for you but if you're there with kids or budding palaeontologists, then T-Rex is a really fun dining experience. Again, let me warn you, there are animatronic dinosaurs throughout the restaurant but as it's Disney it's not too scary or strange, at least to me, in the slightest.

There's also a "Build-A-Dino" gift shop by Build-A-Bear-Workshop, which really is a must-visit for any dinosaur fanatics or even just if you want to build a bear with a bit of a twist, especially as it's completely unique to T-Rex.

T-Rex Downtown Disney

I am always completely stunned by the attention to detail at Disney parks and I was especially happy to see that that hadn't been reduced at Downtown Disney at all. I mean just look at the entrance to T-Rex!

Flight Of Fantasy Downtown Disney

Take A Walk By The Lake

This is where you'll find the famous Flight Of Fantasy hot air balloon. It's also a lovely spot to take photographs and just admire the views across the lake. You can see straight across to the riverside resort of Port Orleans and there's also plenty of opportunities to see the adorable water taxis and ferry boats from here too. You can even hop on board one of these to take you across the lake to Port Orleans for even more Disney exploration. I definitely have this on my 'To-do list' for next year.

As I mentioned above there are so many fantastic things to do, eat and see at Downtown Disney that I could honestly have written a dissertation length blog post today. Hehe. These are just a few of my favourites and I really wish that we had discovered Downtown Disney earlier in our holiday, instead of two nights before we left, as I would certainly have revisited and saved a bit of my spending money for a few epic World Of Disney hauls but there is always next year now isn't there...

Next month's Orlando, Florida Travel Tips post will be dedicated to the Floridian weather and what to do when the weather takes a turn for the worse (I've been there during several hurricanes and tropical storms myself), when there's a sudden rainstorm and when a day is a bit of a rite-off thanks to the rain. Let me know if there is anything else, weather related, that you'd like some tips on too. And also, please let me know if you'd like a full post dedicated on how to do Orlando on a budget or the best places to visit that will literally cost you nothing.

Have you visited Downtown Disney before? If so, what was your favourite part of it? And if not, would you like to visit at some point, especially if you're heading to Orlando at some stage soon?

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Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Beauty On A Budget With New Look


New Look Pure Colour Beauty

When New Look asked me if I thought that I would be able to create a make-up look using up to but no more than £25 worth of New Look make-up, I knew that I was certainly up for the challenge. When I start to add up just how much money I've spent on the contents of my daily make-up bag, that amount begins to get rather eye-watering pretty quickly. So I was definitely excited to see just how impressive the New Look make-up range was, especially when taking into consideration the price of it, as well as seeing how much I could realistically afford to buy for less than £25.

My aim was to be able to buy enough to create a full face of make-up and what I mean by that is, a base, eyes, lips and maybe just maybe, if I have enough left over, brows. So here's what I was able to pick up for under £25 and I think that I managed to do exactly what I had set out to.

New Look Pure Colour Liquid Foundation

New Look Pure Colour Liquid Foundation in Porcelain (01)* £4.99

When it came to my base products I went for their liquid foundation and concealer, both of which I picked up in the lightest shades available. Whilst the colour match of the foundation and concealer aren't exactly spot on, they are a little too dark for my deathly pale complexion, the actual quality and formulation of both are great.

New Look Pure Colour Liquid Concealer

New Look Pure Colour Ivory Liquid Concealer* £3.99

The concealer is creamy and has a lovely consistency to it. It's not so thin that it doesn't really do the job of concealing but it's not that thick that it clings to fine lines either. I definitely enjoyed trying it out and unlike my current concealer, Make Up For Ever's HD Concealer, the applicator actually works at dispensing it.

New Look Pure Colour Make Up

From left to right: New Look Pure Colour Mink Lip Liner* £1.99 - New Look Pure Colour Light Brown Eyebrow Pencil* £1.99 - New Look Pure Colour Brown Eye Shadow Crayon* £2.99 - New Look Pure Colour Black Waterproof Ink Eyeliner Pen* £3.99

I then picked up a couple of crayons/pencils, starting with the mink lip liner and the light brown eyebrow pencil. Both do the job but neither particularly blew me away, however at £1.99 a piece I wasn't really expecting miracles to be honest. But saying that, both would make nice additions to any daily make-up bag especially if you're on a budget.

Next up was the shimmery brown eye shadow crayon. This feels so buttery on the skin and it doesn't pull or tug on the eyelid which is always a plus point for a crayon such as this. I also really adore the shade too and I don't think that I've seen anything else quite like it at this price point either.

New Look Pure Colour Swatches

But the most surprising and impressive of the products that I managed to pick up in my New Look budget make-up haul was the waterproof eyeliner pen. This eyeliner is seriously amazing! It is the blackest of black shades and it stays that black all day long. I honestly couldn't believe that this was from a store that I normally only associate with clothes, shoes and accessories. It really does glide on and as I said, it has some real staying power too. I would definitely recommend checking out this bargain eyeliner pen the next time that you're in New Look.

Eylure London Black No 107 Natural False Lashes

Eylure London Black No 107 Natural False Lashes* £4.99

And last but not least, I went for a pair of Eyelure false lashes. When I was doing my shopping for this particular post, on the New Look site they didn't actually have any of their mascaras in stock so I went for the next best thing and I like the fact that they stock such a well known brand as part of their make-up and beauty section.

To me this just proves that you don't have to spend a ridiculous amount of money on some of the basics particularly if you are a little darker than I am. I'll definitely be stopping by the New Look make-up stand much more often now especially after finding a few products that I really liked putting to the test, all of which came to around £24. 

Have you ever bought anything from the New Look Pure Colour range? Do you think that you could do your full face of make-up for under £25? And how much would the contents of your daily make-up bag amount to if you sat down and worked it all out?

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