Crafts: 'Home' Sign

Happy Monday! How are we all? As I'm writing this I'm sat in a little lodge in the New Forest preparing for a day in Bournemouth with my family. A McGuire/Mitchell extended family holiday never goes to plan and we've had a few hiccups and laughs and now we're all settled with just a few days left to enjoy. It's still early at the moment so everyone is just pottering around i.e killing time waiting for the shower. I've learnt not to bother, nobody lets me in until last and I take the longest to get ready because, you know, my eyelashes don't look so good in such a narrow time frame (and then as it gets later and I ask when we're leaving I'll be met with groans of 'we were waiting for youuuu!' They never learn, honestly! 

Last week I decided it was time to get a bit crafty again so I had a rummage through my craft box and pulled out a few bits and bobs that I could use. The little plaques I had only had enough room for a four letter word so I was limited in my choices and settled on one saying 'Home' (above) and one saying 'Team' (a gift for my boyfriend as who makes a better team, really!?) 

They were pretty simple to make. The only thing that extends the process is waiting time between coats. And we all know how exciting it is watch paint dry... Yawn. The little white stars had a couple coats of silver glitter spray which unfortunately don't show up on the pictures but look really nice on the plaques. And it just gives it a little bit of something else!

I gave this one to my mum and she hung it up straight away, she loved it! I've got a couple more planned as gifts to family and friends and I can't wait to get making them!

What have you all been up to lately?

Blogs I'm Loving #2

 It's time for another round of blogs I've been loving lately and oh my, do I have some good ones for you to check out! I recently joined a blogging network and it's been a real treat getting to discover some new and exciting blogs. I wish I could post all of my favourites but I'm sure neither of us have the time to either write or read about them. So let's get to it!

1. Ellie Speaks - Ellie used to go to a church conference each year that I also attended, we probably crossed paths hundreds of times but we've never actually met. Long story short, I've been a long time lover of her blog. She posts such poignant, thought-provoking and sometimes heart-wrenching writing and her posts are just a joy to read. Most of the time. Unless they're sad in which case I just want to send her a virtual cup of coffee and a warm hug.

2. The Fairy Princess Diaries - If you only check out one of the three blogs mentioned in this post, let it be this one. Jordyn seems like the most fun-loving and bubbly person in the blogosphere and somehow she manages to portray all of that through her blog. Her stories are always so fun to read and she offers the best advice, she's like the big sister I never had! She knows about what's important and every time I read her blog it makes me want to be a better person, as cheesy as it sounds. But like I said, she's got her priorities in order, she knows. She knows. If there's a fabulous lady on the internet to aspire to, she's the one.

3. The Lovecats Inc - I really admire Helen's blog because it's so very professional, especially to say she's not a full time blogger. She seems to know the business inside out so she has some great blogging tips and advice to offer as well as a host of fashion, beauty and lifestyle posts too. Her photographs are amazing too, she's got a good eye for it. Plus she's always willing to offer some advice/recommendations if you're willing to get in touch.

What blogs have you been loving lately?

Skin Brightening Products

We all want to know the secret behind bright, healthy looking skin and whilst I can't promise to offer you a complexion that resembles Zoella's, I can offer you some tips and recommendations to help you on your way. From creams to highlighters, there are plenty of products out there that claim to aid you in your efforts to brighter skin but I've chosen some of my favourites to share with you all today. 

To start your morning, use Soap & Glory's Face Massage Mini Mitt. You can either use it on it's own or with a cleanser/face wash. I like to use it with my regular face scrub (Superdrug's Deep Action Daily Scrub). The instructions tell you to massage upwards in circular motions to help stimulate the skin and helps increase blood/oxygen flow to help your skin look brighter.

The next step in my routine is to use the Origins Ginzing Energy Boosting Moisturiser as well as the Origins Ginzing Eye Cream which claims to brighten and de-puff. The moisturiser is lovely - it smells so good and feels really refreshing on the skin. Again, massage into the skin in circular motions. The eye cream, well, I can't talk highly enough about it! You can see results as soon as you put it on and its pearlescent quality means it works a treat if you have dark circles under your eyes (i.e me, always.) You can read my full review of it here.

Makeup-wise, the B. Illuminating Serum is amazing for brightening up your complexion. If that's the sole purpose for using it, put it on without any foundation and it'll give you a lovely looking healthy glow. If you can't part with your foundation, use the Illuminating Serum as a base and work your foundation over the top which will still give you a glow, just more subtle.

If you want to go one step further in brightening your eyes, a little white eyeliner in the corners of your eyes or along your waterline helps to brighten their appearance. I use the Rimmel Soft Kohl Eye Liner because it is just that, soft. So it's good to use on your eye where the skin is a bit more fragile.

What are your favourite products to help brighten your complexion?

Review: Beauty UK Baked Blush 'Halo'

When you're having a good skin day, especially in summer, a good blusher can be the icing on top of a very lovely looking cake (i.e your face.) I'm sorry, that was terrible. Your face looks nothing like a cake. But the point is that the Baked Blush from Beauty UK is perfect for the summer months and lately it's been my go-to beauty staple for when the sun is shining.

Beauty UK claim that this blusher captures 'sun-baked summer bliss' and 'healthy, holiday-glow skin'. I can vouch for all of these claims. It's shimmery enough to add a lovely highlight but not too shimmery so that your face looks like a disco ball. One sweep over the product with your blusher brush is enough to pick up (probably more than enough) product. I always dab my brush on the back of my hand just to get rid of any excess and then sweep across my cheekbones. It gives a lovely, healthy pink colour and highlights in a subtle but noticable way. I've had a few compliments about how healthy my complexion looks when I've been wearing this product and I never get compliments on my complexion.

The only thing I don't like is the packaging. It's so big and bulky for a product that takes up hardly any of the space inside. Plus it's a cardboard, magnetic box so it never feels secure in my makeup bag. If I was travelling long-haul with it I'd probably tie an elastic band around it just to keep it together. But on the plus side it does come with a mirror. Handy.

It only costs £3.99 so it's a complete steal. You can get it from the Beauty UK website and it comes in four different shades. It used to be sold in Superdrug but they're no longer available to buy on the website but it might be worth popping into a shop if you're out and about to see if they stock it!

What's your favourite highlighting blusher?

The Day I Graduated Instead of Going to Hospital


After three years of lectures, exams, seminars, presentations, workshops, essays, one netball practice, one trip to the gym (yep, just one), a couple of nights out, lots of custard creams, drunk fairground rides, a few long trips to the archives, countless laughs and a few cries too... I graduated! 

Not without some issues though. And by that I mean I couldn't find any shoes to match my dress. I know, nightmare, right? The morning I should have spent leisurely getting ready to go to the university I actually spent trying not to let tears ruin my makeup as I tried everything in my power (and my mum's) to make the shoes fit that I so badly wanted to wear. I gave up in the end and sent them flying across my bedroom. And on top of that I somehow managed to scratch my eye with my nail whilst I was doing my makeup only to leave a pretty nasty looking red mark. Thankfully you can't really see it on any of the photos but I did nearly leave the house in tears declaring I was having absolutely no photos taken! 

It was a really lovely day though and it was good to have everyone we've met through various modules all in one place. I even bumped into an old friend from sixth form who was there supporting another friend but a brief hug and a 'congratulations' was enough to lift my spirits (thanks Sonia!!) After the ceremony and the ridiculously long queue to get a professional photograph taken, my family and I headed to a really nice pub to have a meal and a drink to celebrate. We were all starving by this point and there was no waiting around, everyone dug in straight away. We had some laughs as my mum sat in the corner taking selfies on her kindle and as my grandma started hiding car keys and blaming everyone else. My family are all big kids, that's the moral of the story but we had a fun evening and as it got late everyone jumped in various cars and headed home.

My boyfriend had taken a couple of days off work to see me graduate so we had Tuesday together as I graduated and then Wednesday was free for us to do with as we wished. We talked about going to the seaside for the day or going to the cinema. But I woke up on Wednesday morning and Callum looked at me and said 'your eye is worse you know' which was enough to panic me. After a few phonecalls and some threatening tears, Callum took me to the hospital to get it checked out which I was told I should really have done yesterday (oops). Not really how we envisaged spending his last day off together! I was given some ointment at the hospital and was free to leave to spend the remainder of the day baking and catching up on Fringe with Callum.

Despite all the mess and stress of the morning and the hospital incident, I had a really lovely couple of days celebrating my time at university with the amazing friends I made that helped make some of the more stressful days and weeks a thousand times more bearable. Thanks Zoe for all the laughs and for talking endlessly with me about anything and everything and we wandered around university together. Thanks Amber for being lovely company and for making us laugh with your funny stories. Thanks Amanda for looking out for us all and asking the questions we never wanted to (and for doing all the talking during seminars, phew!). You all made me feel at home as I turned up a couple of week late from Newcastle. You made uni what it was and I love you all for it!

Now to face the real world. Yikes!

Nude Nails: Lottie London 'Hit Refresh'

I have a bit of aversion to the colour red in the makeup/nails department. I can't really pull off a red lip (although it doesn't stop me trying) and it turns out I can't rock a red nail polish either. Who knew? I much prefer nude nails on an everyday basis because I think they just look cleaner, much more subtle and you can wear them with anything. So over the next few weeks I'm going to share my favourite nude nail polish shades starting with my favourite: Lottie London 'Hit Refresh.'

I jumped on the Lottie London bandwagon as soon as the range was released because the range looked different from anything else on the high street. You can read about my initial picks here. When I was planning my graduation outfit I knew I wanted to wear a nude nail so I had a browse through Lottie London's huge 60 piece nail polish collection and landed on this one. I think it's the perfect barely there shade and it is all I've been wearing lately. Well, aside from the red nail disaster from earlier in the week. But let's forget about that one.

The Lottie London nail polishes are such good quality too. I have real trouble making a nail polish last more than 24 hours without chipping but I got away with this one for a couple of days before I started noticing any chipping. And with a nude polish you can sort of get away with a few chips on the tips as it's not bright enough to be truly obvious. And at £5.99 a bottle you can't really go wrong.

Have you tried this nail polish or any others from Lottie London?

Battle of the Hand Creams

A good hand cream is essential in any woman's handbag. Somehow over the past year or so mine have accumulated massively (I blame half of that on my Superdrug discount... Sometimes temptation is just too much! I mean, I really needed all the new release mascaras and hand creams, right?) So today I'm sharing with you some of my favourites!

Boots Botanics All Bright Hand Cream
This is one of the best in terms of value. You get 75ml of product for £2.89 and it comes in a really sturdy tube so it's pretty handbag-proof too. The product itself is lightweight, has a light cream-like smell but nothing overpowering and it is most definitely fast absorbing so it's a good one for those who quickly want rid of that greasy feeling. The only claim that I'm not sold on is the brightening qualities but I'll probably go on living just fine without it.

Superdrug Hand Therapy 2 in 1 Hand & Nail Cream
This one is probably my favourite of the bunch just because it works so well at strengthening my nails and making them look super healthy. Like the Botanics one, the product is lightweight and soaks in pretty quickly. I always spent a bit of extra time with this one massaging it into my nails and by that time the product has soaked in everywhere else. This one is really good value for money at £1.49 for 75ml (if you click the link don't worry about the packaging, the product is still the same).

The Body Shop Frosted Cranberry Hand Cream
This one wins by a long shot on the scent-front. Unfortunately the Frosted Cranberry was limited edition at Christmas but The Body Shop still do a good range which you can check out here (I've got my eyes on the satsuma one). I can't fault the product here either, it's a bit thicker than the others and it feels really luxurious but at £3.50 for 30ml, I'd expect something a bit higher quality. My issue with this is the packaging. If it gets abused by anything heavy at the bottom of my handbag it tends to squeeze the product so when I take off the lid the product just seeps out. What a waste! But oh my, the smell...

Nivea Smooth Nourishing Hand Cream
This is a more heavy duty product for dry hand-related emergencies. It's a thick cream (with a very heavy cream smell) but works well to give a more intense treatment. I bought this one because it was just a handy handbag size which cost £1.50 for 30ml. I like it but don't love it. It's probably my least favourite of the four but for the sake of convenience and nourishment, it gets a spot.

What are your favourite hand creams?

Homemade Button Rings

Last Monday, in an attempt to cheer me up, my mum took me to The Range and we did some serious damage in the craft section. My mum justified it with a 'well, this can be your graduation present... I couldn't think of anything to buy you!' So now I have a lovely craft box full of all sorts of delights and I couldn't wait to get started with it all. I was spoiled for choice! 

I've had so much fun making these cute little button rings over the past week. I've been playing around with different designs and sizes and colours to see what looks best. I'm yet to touch the soldering iron (the time will come but for now I'm reluctant to start experimenting with it). I've been wearing the green one over the weekend and I think it's lovely for this time of year just for a bit of colour and a bit of something different. It took a while to get the hang of it at first but it got easier with time and I was able to do a few fancier details round the edges.

What do you think?