Recent Reads | March 2017

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  • Friday, 31 March 2017

I’m quite enjoying writing a monthly Recent Reads post as it gives me a chance to think about the last few books that I’ve read and reflect on my thoughts and feelings about each of them. 

The Girl On The Train | Paula Hawkins

I finished The Girl On The Train, which I am afraid to say, was not my most favourite book that I have ever read. I am quite a big fan of thrillers and murder mystery books and I just felt like this novel wasn’t quite up to scratch. 

The story followed three different women over the period of ten months or so, whose lives were more interlinked then they had first realised. There were only a handful of characters in the story and despite the fact that I struggled to keep picking it up, it was a very quick and easy read. 

I found the storyline a little weak and very predictable and I had guessed the ending about two thirds of the way through. Again, I’m not sure if it is just that I have read a lot of books of this genre that made it feel so predictable and so, for me at least, it didn’t quite hit the spot. 

Miss Chopsticks | Xinran

Miss Chopsticks was March’s pick for the Book Club that I attend. It was a very interesting read as it was set in China in the 1990s, with the intention of highlighting the differences between the lives of those that grew up in the countryside, compared to those that lived in the cities. 

It was a novel based on true events, about three young sisters that decided to move to the city and make a life for themselves. They wanted to prove to their parents that they were more that just ‘Chopsticks’, a term used in the countryside to describe girls, as they were seen as weak and replaceable. 

It was an eye-opening book, as I hadn’t quite realised the social gap that they had in China, and not even that long ago. It was easy to read and fairly short, despite the fact that some of the information was hard to digest and it explored some pretty heavy social themes. 

A Twisted Tale A Whole New World | Liz Braswell             

I got this book for my birthday in September, and I can’t believe that I am only just getting around to reading it. This was a first in a series of books that are a twisted version of some of the original Disney stories. 

A Whole New World depicts a different take on the Disney story of Aladdin, the twist being, what if Aladdin ha never found the lamp? I am a huge lover of Disney and so these books really appeal to me as an adult, as it is a slightly darker and distorted version of the stories I know so well. 

 Prague Pocket Guide | Berlitz

I have been carrying this little book around with me over the past few weeks diving in every so often. I am currently in Prague and when I travel somewhere new, I love to pick up a little travel guide to get more of an overview of where it is that I am going. 

I appreciate that there is a lot of information available online, there is just something about a little guide book though that makes me really excited about going away. I love to read them on the plane and have them in my bag to quickly refer to. 

The Million Dollar Blog | Natasha Courtney-Smith

I was given this book by my Dad just a couple of weeks ago. He was listening to an interview of Natasha on the radio and thought that it would be an interesting read for me, how sweet! I am yet to delve into it’s pages but it is next on my reading list for April and I can’t wait to get stuck it. 

The Million Dollar Blog is a bit of a guide to help make your blog successful both in content and in terms of monetising your blog. It also includes interviews and advice from people such as Lilly Pebbles, who I have been following for years, and I can’t wait to spend some time reading this book. 

What have you been reading lately?


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Must Have Items For Any City Break

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  • Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Today I am traveling to the city of Prague. I am so so excited to be heading to this beautiful city, and whilst I was packing my suitcase and deciding what to take, it got me thinking about some of the key items that I always pack when I go on a city break.

Tour Guide Book – This is ideal if you are going somewhere you haven’t been before. I bought the Berlitz one for Prague, pretty much as soon as I found out that we were going. This are lovely little pocket books that are great as they include maps, a history of the destination and recommendations ranging from museums to bars and restaurants. 

A Suitable Bag – For my last few city breaks I have taken my trusty New Look backpack as a handbag. I think this is perfect as it allows me to fit everything I need inside, such as my purse, phone, camera and guidebook. Yet it allows me to keep my hands free to take photos and drink takeaway coffee. 

A Scarf – Whenever I travel, I always ensure that I pack some sort of scarf with me. They have multiple uses such as; a blanket for the plane, a shawl for a warm evening when you might not need a coat, or rolled up to use as a pillow.

Camera – Most phones have great cameras now but I will be taking my trusty Olympus Pen for photographs. I also plan to vlog part of the trip so this is a great all in one that is light and compact.

Document Wallet – This is an absolute must for me as I love to be organised when I travel. These wallets are perfect to keep money, tickets, confirmation documents, boarding cards etc safe and in one place. 

What are your City Break travel essentials?


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BlogConLDN | Scarlett London Events

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  • Sunday, 26 March 2017

Last weekend I attended another fantastic event hosted by the lovely Scarlett London; BlogConLDN. I have gone to quite a few of Scarlett’s Events now and I think that this one may have been my favourite.

The convention itself was held at the QWII Centre which was a beautiful venue. The structure of the event was different from Scarlett’s previous blogger get-togethers in that there was a huge range of guest speakers. This was brilliant as there was the opportunity to get some insight into the work behind that perfect Instagram shot, or how to take the best photographs possible. I especially enjoyed Lauren’s talk which gave advice all about using the manual setting on your cameras. She is such a lovely person and I am so glad that I got the opportunity to meet her. 

Along with guest speakers, there were also some amazing brands all showcasing their products which ranged from fashion to beauty to food and drink. 

Forever Living

Mashooq Hair

Lola's Apothecary

Chi Chi London

The Good Guru


I love attending these events but since I’m from up north I like to make my journey south a little more worth my while. You can see what else I got up to whilst I was down in London here, and more about my outfit and what I wore to the event here.

Thank you so much again to Scarlett for hosting such a wonderful event. 

Where you at BlogConLDN?
Be sure to leave me your links! 


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Wardrobe Staple | The Classic Black Blazer

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  • Friday, 24 March 2017

I have never really been that much of a blazer lover.  I have always really enjoyed the way they look on other people, but thought that it was just one of those fashion pieces that I was never really going to pull off.

However, since the New Year, I had wanted some sort of jacket that I could go out in, without having to lug around my huge winter coat… I wanted something that I could wear with jeans that made them a little more sophisticated… I wanted something that I could wear with a dress that would make it a little more casual… and so, I was on the hunt for the perfect blazer. 

I always think that I have a bit of an odd body type, and so when it comes to buying garments, I often find that I need to try on 1834673 different variations of the same sort of clothing to find the one that suits me. To paint you a picture, I am fairly short, curvy with large lady lumps and a substantial behind. As I’m sure you can imagine, finding something that fits in all the right places can be a little difficult…

In the end, I opted for this over-sized, boyfriend-fit, black, lined blazer from Zara.  I managed to pick this particular one up in the sale for just £19.99; however, New Look and H&M offer similar styles for around the same price. 

I fell in love with this piece as soon as I tried it on. I feel like it has the right amount of sophistication yet can be styled fairly casually depending how you wear it. It is a long fit which is nice as it finishes just past my bum, and it is tailored in a way that suggests your shape but isn’t so restricting that you feel as though every lump and bump is on show. It has quite wide lapels and a slight hint of shoulder pads, which adds structure but doesn’t feel un-feminine.

I love the way this blazer looks both dressed up and dressed down. I wore it for a girly night out the other week with a floral skater style dress and knee high boots, yet whilst we were walking around London last week, all of which you can read about here, I teamed it with culottes, a thin woollen jumper and my vans. It really seems to be the perfect go-between piece that I can style with the majority of my wardrobe. 

These photographs were taken after the #BlogConLDn event hosted by Scarlett London Events, and I wanted an outfit that was dressy and sophisticated but day time appropriate. I think that the blazer and the low heels offer a certain amount of class, whilst the culottes and crop top, which shows a sneak peek of my mid-drift, keeps it casual day-wear.

What's your current wardrobe staple?


Photos by Heather

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12 Cities In 12 Months | London

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  • Wednesday, 22 March 2017

I love going to visit London. I think that it is such a beautiful city filled with amazing history, architecture and culture, and I feel blown away every time I go down to visit. 

This past weekend I took a two-day trip down to the capital with James and my brother. The main purpose for the trip was because I had been invited to attend the #BlogConLDN blogging event, hosted by the lovely, Scarlett. So I decided to extend the trip by staying over on the Saturday night and invited the two boys along with me. 

We got the early morning train to Kings Cross on Saturday and made our way over to central London, stopping at Pret for a quick bite to eat before heading off in our separate ways. I headed over to the Queen Elizabeth II building near Westminster and spent the next four hours speaking to various brands, networking and listening in on some amazing talks. Be sure to have a read of Sunday’s post to find out more about what I got up to whilst I was at the event. 

Once the event was over, I met the boys in Leister Square which is one of my favourite places to visit in London. We had originally decided to see a West End production whilst we were down there but everything was very pricey so we decided to give it a miss. It was a shame because I love going to watch a show when I’m visiting the capital, but we drowned our sorrows by eating an amazing dinner at Garfuncle’s, which served the most amazing salmon pasta dish.

We stayed in a Travelodge in Hackney, so after we were sufficiently stuffed, we got the train there to dump our bags and freshen up a little. Beauty and the Beast was being shown in 3D at the Hackney Picturehouse so we wondered over there for our Saturday night entertainment. I was a huge fan of Beauty and the Beast growing up and found the live action version of the film such a joy to watch. 

We enjoyed a nice lazy morning, following our long and busy Saturday. I woke up early and had a coffee in bed whilst looking through pictures from the previous day’s blogging event. We checked out and wondered down the road to Weatherspoon’s for a cheap and cheerful breakfast. 

We decided to head over to Camden Market in the afternoon and had a lovely walk around exploring everything it had to offer including some amazing, melt in your mouth, chocolate brownies. I have given up chocolate and sweeties for lent, but had allowed myself to have this weekend, and my time in Prague next week, off.

After exploring what felt like 1000s of different stalls, booths and shops, the boys were a little peckish so we stopped at Bird for a light snack. We then walked off the brownie and chips with a brisk scroll down by the cannel all the way to Kings Cross station. Just because we hadn’t eaten enough food, before getting on the train we ordered tea from Honest Burger. I had the house salad with my red leicester cheese burger with red onion relish – it was absolute perfection.

It was a lovely couple of days spent exploring the capital and just walking around a different city.

Have you ever been to London? 
What do you like to do when you visit the capital?


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A Simple Spring Make Up Look

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  • Sunday, 19 March 2017

The weather this past week has really got me in the mood for spring. I love this time of year when the daffodils and snowdrops start to pop out all over the place, and we can begin to swap our heavy winter coats for lighter jackets…

The beginning of a new season always inspires me to change things up a bit when it comes to both fashion and makeup. I like to opt for lighter and brighter items of clothing as well as makeup products. In today’s blog post I have listed an entire face of Spring-inspired-makeup pieces. There is also a new video over on my YouTube channel if you would like to take a peek of me applying this look.

No7 Instant Illusions Primer
NYX Stay Matte But Not Flat Liquid Foundation
Clarins Instant Concealer 
Seventeen Miracle Matte Loose Powder
Benefit Hoola Bronzer
Mac Highlighter in Lightscapade
Benefit Brow-Zings
Seventeen Bronze Block as Eyeshadow
Seventeen Liquid Liner
No7 Midnight Lash Mascara
Carmex Moisturising Lip Balm
Tanya Burr Lip Gloss in Candy Cane

I hope you are having a wonderful weekend so far. I am currently exploring London town for the next few days, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled for some capital inspired blog posts coming soon!


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Bloggers Spotlight March | An Interview With Simone From Enchanted Vamp

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  • Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Below is an interview with the lovely Simone, the writer behind the blog; Enchanted Vamp. Simone is an up and coming blogger from The Lake District who loves photography and writing about a wide range of topics. Be sure to have a read and check out her social media channels for more about the girl behind the blog. 

Introduce us to your blog Enchanted Vamp, what was in the inspiration behind the name?

The name took quite a long time actually. My blog was originally called "Simone Simple Reviews" because I was mainly wanting to do just makeup reviews, but after a week or so I started to want to do more things like different trends fashion outfits things like that so I changed to Enchanted Vamp. I have always loved vampy colours with my makeup and to be honest I'm quite a sucker for darker colours anyways, as I think it suites me a lot more with my dark eyes.

What are your favourite things to blog about?

I love to write reviews, but my favourite thing to blog about is my bullet journal. I love writing in my bullet journal so being able to share what I have been writing the past few weeks is my favourite thing ever.

When you're not blogging, how do you like to spend your free time?

I like spending my free time try new products or finding new products to try. And its quite a good excuse to online shop! Also reading is something I have been getting in to recently, so that's quite nice.

What are your key tips for taking the perfect picture?

Lighting! Natural lighting is best thing for a perfect picture. As long as it sunny and not a cloudy day you sure to take the perfect picture.

What is your go to, can't live without, beauty product?

Collection Lasting Perfection concealer. Its super creamy, bendable and the perfect coverage! Highly recommended!

Be sure to have a read of Simone's Blog and catch up with her on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.


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Rediscovering My Makeup Stash | Things I Forgot That I Love

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  • Tuesday, 14 March 2017

A couple of Saturday’s ago I had a bit of a clear out of my beauty and makeup stash. I like to have a bit of a tidy and a clear out every so often, rotating my collection as well as getting rid of anything that I no longer use or like anymore. Whilst I was having a sort through, I stumbled upon a few makeup products that I have had in my collection for a while that I had forgotten about.

Base Products 

I rediscovered the NYX Liquid Foundation that I bought quite a while ago now, when I did a little NYX haul. I was yet to try any of their products and so I picked up a few different ones, including this Matte Not Flat foundation. I was yet to try it properly, and after finding it again the other week, I decided to give it a proper go. I have really enjoyed using it at as full coverage product and I feel like it blends really well onto a moisturised base. I have been wearing it for work over the past two weeks and have loved the results. 

Another base product that I have rediscovered is the Maybelline Under Eye Concealer. At the beginning of the year I bought the Clarins Instant Radiance Concealer which I have used consistently over the last few months. However, whilst I was having a clear out, I rekindled my love for this amazing concealer by Maybelline which I have now been using over the past few weeks, again as an everyday work option. 

As well as using the NYX foundation and the Maybelline concealer, I have also been using another drug-store base product, the Seventeen Miracle Matte Loose Powder. I have enjoyed exploring more of my drug-store collection of make up to wear on a day to day basis whilst I’m at work, so that I can save my more premium makeup products for weekends, day trips and night’s out. This powder offers a matte finish that helps to hold my makeup in place all day, which is great as I don’t have to top up my makeup whilst I’m in the office. 

Finishing Touches 

As well as base products, I also rediscovered a few other makeup bits and bobs, including this lovely Neutrals Eyeshadow Palette by Laminau. I felt like I wanted a new neutrals palette and I had my eye on one of the new Zoeva ones, but I am glad I held off buying one as this feels like a great dupe. All of the shades are matte and very warm and natural which is exactly what I was wanting. 

I love using blusher as I think it provides a really nice warmth to the face, especially during the cooler months when I tend to be much paler. I often just grab either my Nars Orgasm blush or my Benefit Hervana Blush by default, which is bad because I have quite a collection of blushers that I hardly use. After my clear out, I rediscovered my Tarte Blusher that I picked up in New York when I had a bit of a Sephora Haul. It is so pretty and I have been making more of a conscious effort to wear it more. 

I have been loving my Essie Cocktail Bling nail varnish over the last few months, so much so it was featured in my February Favourites. However, I had a bit of a sort through my stash and rediscovered my Made In Red polish by Accessorize which I have completely fallen back in love with. It is the perfect red that looks really classic and I love having it on my nails on the build up to spring. 

What’s in your makeup stash that you forgot that you love?


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Unboxing The City With Watchshop | Unboxing York

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  • Sunday, 12 March 2017

I am so excited to be writing this blog post, all about unboxing my hometown, The City of York. I love living in this beautiful and historic City located in the heart of the north of England with its periodic buildings and picturesque views. 

I am in love with this city and feel so lucky to live here. There is so much on offer whether you enjoy history, shopping, eating out or having beautiful walks in glorious grounds; there really is something for everyone. 

As part of the Unboxing project with Watchshop, I was asked to pick out three main attractions or places that I love in the heart of the city. I have picked a mixture of cultural activities and historical places, which I feel, clearly represents and capitulates what this wonderful city has to offer. 

One of York’s most famous eateries is Betty’s Tea Rooms. Betty’s originated in Harrogate, a town close to York, alongside Tailors of Harrogate, a world famous tea company. The tearooms pride themselves on maintaining a traditional tea room experience from the food and drink to the wonderful service and shop. I wanted to share this iconic company as I feel that it truly grasps the nature and the feel of York with its historical background and traditional feel. I enjoyed a beautiful breakfast of avocado on toast with poached eggs and what felt like a bottomless tea pot of traditional Betty’s blend loose tea. 

Another main attraction, which is a must see in York City Centre, is York Minster. This cathedral is truly amazing. Its vast presence in the City creates a central hub for locals and tourists alike. It really is a beautiful building and is one of the largest cathedrals in Northern Europe reaching 61meter in height. It was built in 637AD and although it has had many renovations and repairs over the years, it maintains its beautiful and historic presence within the City.  

 The last place that I wanted to feature for this Unboxing My City project is the traditional shopping streets of York. There is Stonegate that is built upon the Roman walkway to York Minster, which later played host as the main shopping street in York in the Eighteen and early Nineteenth Century. This is still an amazing shopping street in York, swapping printers, goldsmiths and corset sellers for the likes of Jo Malone, Whistles and Jigsaw. 

There is also The Shambles, which has been named one of the best-preserved medieval streets in the world. This is another very central and important shopping street in York’s history as it was where the butchers were located, ready with a constant supply of fresh meat. I love this street as it feels as though you are transported through time to another world with its traditional feel and old style shop fronts. Although they are now filled with little cafes and gift shops rather than pork chops… 

I loved being a tourist in my own city and I would really recommend that you try it too. It is so easy to take for granted everything we have right on our doorstep and it was so nice to have an excuse to explore York. Be sure to have a watch of my unboxing York video to get more of a feel of what I got up to. 

Have you ever visited York? 
What are the top places to visit in your hometown?


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