Monday, 29 September 2014

The New Forest Wildlife Park

It's not often that I get to do things in my local area, so on my birthday a few weeks ago, Bradley, my Mum, Dad and I headed to The New Forest Wildlife Park for a day trip. I absolutely adore butterflies, so when I heard that they had a butterfly house I was sold. Initially, I thought that the park was going to be geared towards small children (and to a degree it is, as there are play parks and information boards aimed at children) but there was so much to do there for adults too. We arrived about 11 in the morning and I had initially thought that we would be for a couple of hours max but we didn't end up leaving until about 5pm!

Of course we headed for the butterfly house first, which was conveniently situated near the entrance. There were quite a few butterflies flying around and even new ones which were emerging from their chrysalis. The butterfly house was a lot smaller than I had anticipated, after visiting the butterfly house at Longleat the previous year I thought it would be similar but it was still lovely to watch them flying around (one even landed on my eye!).

The park is also home to lots of other animals, including several different types of Otters, Eurasian Lynx, Bison, Deer and Wild Boar and many more. The Wild Boar had some young piglets which when we saw them were sleeping in a huge pig bundle! As soon as the mother moved, they were up like a shot ready to suckle! It was so sweet to see! We also watched the Lynx get fed and listened to really interesting talk from one of the keepers.

Later in the day we were also lucky enough to be by one of the otter enclosures as they were being fed, the Otters knew it was almost feeding time and whenever someone came close to the enclosure they were squeaking. A keeper came along and threw some fish in, and they went mental! By this point it was quiet in the park too as most of the families had gone home, so it was really nice to be able to observe the animals quietly.

If you live in this area, I strongly recommend that you pay the park a visit. It only costs £10.50 per adult and £7.50 per child. I had a great day and hope to visit again soon!

Have you visited The New Forest Wildlife Park before?


Sunday, 28 September 2014

Birthday OOTN

Firstly, please excuse the attractive backdrop for this photo, I've never done an OOTN before and I'm going to need a little practice on the best place to take photos. The night before my birthday, my friends and I headed out to Pizza Express for a celebratory meal. I had the Leggera pizza which is only 500 calories (sorry no photos, as I wolfed it down!) followed by an amazing chocolate sundae (sorry healthy eating plan, it was my birthday after all!).

My friend Kayleigh and I got ready at my flat so naturally we took some photos so I thought I would share what I wore.

Dress | Matalan
Black Tights | Primark
Shoes | Dorothy Perkins
Bag | Topshop
Key Necklace | Lily Charmed
Bracelet | Pandora

What do you think to my OOTN?


Friday, 26 September 2014

The Review | Nail Magic Wet High Gloss Top Coat

Ever since the gel nail polish trend started, I've been obsessed in finding a product that I could use with all of my current polishes, so when I was contacted to see if I would like to try the new Nail Magic Wet Gloss Top Coat* I was quite excited.

Nail Magic was developed in 1960 by professional manicurist, Mrs Martha Peterson. It started with just one item, the Hardener & Conditioner which customers requested for personal use in between her visits. Word about the product quickly spread and soon after it was being sold in the cosmetics department at Meier and Frank Company department store in Portland, Oregon. 

The product continued to be popular and continued to keep selling out. It was at this point that Ron Haken, an assistant buyer for the Meier and Frank Company discovered Nail Magic. He concluded that Nail Magic accounted for a significant percentage of the stores cosmetic sales. This was accomplished without any advertising, sophisticated packaging or special offers, so in 1976 he bought Nail Magic and still owns it to this day!

Five decades later, the company has grown to offer a wide range of nail care products including the wet high gloss top coat.

What I like about this product, is that it works by being applied after the final coat of nail polish has dried, as opposed to a product like Seche Vite which is applied whist the last coat of nail varnish is still wet (something which I really struggled with!) and it only needs one coat.

I tried the Nail Magic Wet High Gloss Top Coat over Barry M's Raspberry nail polish (one that isn't matte, glossy or textured) and it gives a very professional, gel looking finish. The quality of the formula and the ease of application are fantastic and the finish is smooth and even, which is definitely what you are looking for in a top coat. The shine was quite difficult to capture in the photographs I have taken, but as you move your hands, they glimmer in the light. The photographs above were taken on day two and on day four (as this post goes live) they're still going strong!

Priced at £5.50 (for 7.4ml) it's a great, purse friendly, high quality product and I can see why the other products in the range sell out really quickly. It's also not tested on animals, which is always key point to consider when purchasing cosmetics.

If you're in the US, there are lots of places to purchase Nail Magic, including Walgreens and Ulta, but if like me you are in the UK, you can purchase a large selection of the Nail Magic range, including Nail Magic - Wet, online at Jica.

Have you tried anything from the Nail Magic range before? 

What do you think to this high gloss top coat?


Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Birthday By Numbers

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As some of you may know, it was my birthday last Saturday. So today I thought I would share a snippet of my day...

12(midnight/Friday) - the time I stayed up until the night before to see in my birthday

7.30(ish) the time I woke up excited because it was my birthday

3 - the number of birthday cakes I got

5 - the number of helium balloons I got from friends & family

10 - the amount of pounds it cost to get into The New Forest Wildlife Park which was where I decided I wanted to spend my birthday

2 - the number of leucistic hedgehogs I met (google them, they are so cute!)

1 - the number of butterflies that landed on my face! 

8(pm) - the time I opened my birthday presents

4 - the number of my presents that were from MAC

9 - the number of chinese take away cartons myself and my family munched through

1 - bottle of free Prosecco I got from Pizza Express because it was my birthday!

3 - the number of glasses I drank from it!

11.30(ish) the time I went to bed, filled with Chinese & cake!


Monday, 22 September 2014

London Birthday Bucket List

image source | edited by me

I'm visiting London tomorrow as a little belated birthday treat, It's not often I get to visit anymore due to work and Bradley's idea of a nice day out in London doesn't extend to being dragged around the shops (but it's my birthday so I figure I can get away with it!). I've compiled a little bucket list of things I would like to buy and places I would like to visit whilst I'm there. We are only there for the day which makes it a little hard to squeeze everything in but I'm going to try my best!

1 :: Grab a peanut butter cookie from Ben's Cookies at Carnaby Street
2 :: Go to Muji and pick up some acrylic storage
3 :: Visit Kiko and pick up some Eyeshadow Sticks (hopefully Golden Brown 6 and Light Taupe 25)
4 :: Visit Victoria's Secret and buy a couple of body mists
5 :: Buy some Bioderma in Zest
6 :: Go to Wahaca on the Southbank for lunch
7 :: Take some touristy shots of landmarks
8 :: Visit Europe's biggest Disney Store (Oxford Street)
9 :: Try an Orange refresher from Starbucks
10 :: Visit M&M world and buy my bodyweight in peanut M&M's

What things do you like to do when you visit London?
Is there any places you recommend I visit?


Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Berry on Trend

Now Autumn is descending upon us, it's time to bring back the berry shades. There are currently some great offerings from the high street to help you stay on trend but not break the bank. Here are my current berry favourites...

MUA Power Pout Lip Balm Pen £3 in the shade Crazy in Love
I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with MUA. I've tried several of their products, including their primer, highlighter and nail varnishes and have never really been wowed. It's usually the price that draws me in as they are really cheap. I picked up the Power Pout at Superdrug as a spur of the moment purchase and decided to give it a go. I £3 what did I have to lose? Admittedly it's not that long lasting, especially after eating or drinking but if you carry it along in your bag and are able to do a few touch ups throughout the day then this is a great little product and well worth the £3.

Essie Soul Mate Nail Varnish £7.99
I don't think I have to go into too much detail on this one as regular readers of my blog will know that I adore Essie and it's my favourite brand. Sole Mate has been dubbed as the perfect date night polish. It's perfect for a sophisticated evening look. At £7.99 it's quite expensive for a high street polish but Essie never compromise on quality and you can achieve a perfect gel looking manicure in just two coats.

Topshop Gloss Ink £8 in the shade Cruel
Topshop have a really great make up range, I usually head for their polish section but I now have a few of their lip products too. I did a review on this Gloss Ink on my blog a while back (which you can read here) so I won't go into too much detail but it definitely makes your lip a prime feature when you wear it. It's probably more suited to an evening look but I have found I can apply this in the morning and it stains your lips so they still have a subtle colour throughout the day.

Barry M Nail Varnish £2.99 in the shade Raspberry
Barry M have to be my favourite budget beauty brand for nail polish. For £2.99 their polishes are pretty darn good. I find as long as I apply a base coat before hand I usually get a good few days wear out of them. I tend to have to apply two coats to get an opaque, even finish but I've never really been unsatisfied with how they have applied. Barry M always seem to have a great range of affordable polishes and are always releasing new collections as well as keeping their current classics. They have just released their new Gelly Autumn shades too which I haven't managed to pick up yet but am definitely going to check out.

What shades do you like to wear in Autumn?


Monday, 15 September 2014

New Things | 001

Today I'm bringing you a trio of treats that I will be trying over the next few weeks...

Soap & Glory One Heck of a Blot £12
My skin can be quite oily at times, so I am looking forward to giving this a try. It's a mattifying powder which can be used on troublesome areas such as the nose, forehead and chin to reduce shine and produce a velvety finish. It looks like a handy little compact as it has a mirror inside and a powder puff for easy application. One that you can just stick in your handbag for when you're on the go. Soap & Glory is currently buy one get one half price in Boots so if you're quick you could pick up another item too!

MAC Fanfare Lipstick - £15.50
I was lucky enough to win this from a blog giveaway a few months ago but as I took an impromptu break from blogging, I never got around to sharing it with you all. I was able to choose the shade of lipstick for my prize and Fanfare had been on my wishlist ever since I clapped eyes on it on Gh0stparties blog. It's my first creamsheen formula and is a medium coral/pink shade. Not one I would normally go for, but after copious amounts of swatching both in store and on Google I finally took the plunge.

Essence Blush Up in Heat Wave - £3.50
When I won the MAC lipstick giveaway, the lovely Andrea also included a little surprise treat in my parcel in the form of Essence's Blush Up in the shade Heat Wave. It's a beautiful pinky/orange blush. I have been using my Sleek blush in Mirrored Pink for so long now that it will be nice to have something new to play with. I've actually found that my local Wilkinson's now stocks a large amount of the Essence range so make sure you check out your local store if you like the look of this!

What new things have you been trying lately?


Sunday, 14 September 2014

My Weight Loss Journey | Week 2

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So we are onto week 2 of my weight loss journey, below is a summary of what has been happening and what I've been eating this week. 

Breakfast :: I have substituted sugar in my morning coffee for a spoonful of Canderel instead. At first, I tried the coffee with no sugar but cold turkey didn't work at all. I then tried half sugar but that didn't work either. It was at this point that I decided that it was either going to be no coffee at all or a sugar alternative. Canderel was on offer in Tesco's for £1 so I thought I would give it a try and so far it has worked. For breakfast I have been having two Weetabix with semi skimmed milk (100ml) and that seems to fill me up until lunch.

Lunch :: Lunch when I am working late shifts is actually dinner as I can't cook at work and by the time I come home it's too late to cook. We have been making home made chips with potatoes instead of buying chips from the supermarket and using spices from the cupboard to season them. We had these with home made burgers by using lean mince and onion in my burger press. It was actually quite fun making them. We have been having a lot of fresh vegetables including broccoli, baby corn, sugarsnap peas and even runner beans which were straight from my work colleagues allotment. For dessert, I have been having a Mullerlight Vanilla or Toffee yoghurt.

Dinner :: My evening meal has been substituted for tea which consists of a mugshot (in a variety of different flavours, chicken/tomato/beef) a banana, a handful of grapes and another Muller yoghurt.

Exercise :: I was on late shifts the past week so by the time I leave work at 9pm it's too late to walk home as it's already dark but I have walked to work. Bradley also bought me a Pilates DVD which I have done three times. I've never done Pilates before so I'm still on the beginners section but I am already starting to feel a difference in my core muscles. I ache the next day after doing the DVD but in a good way.

General Mood :: Generally I have been feeling a bit down this week. I had to say goodbye to one of my pets and it was difficult not to turn to food for comfort. I may have slipped off the wagon and had a little bit of ice cream on that day, but generally I haven't felt the need to turn to sweet treats to make me feel better.

I still haven't weighed myself so I am not sure if any actual weight has been lost, but my mental attitude towards food has definitely started to change, which if this is going to be a lifestyle change and not a diet then I think that is the way forward. When looking in the mirror, I am noticing the areas I need to work on more and the determination to achieve the look I want is making me work harder at the moment as opposed to the numbers.

Have you got any helpful hints/tips or recipes you can share to help me on my journey?


Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Payday Treats

 I've been really good when it comes to spending recently. With my birthday round the corner I've entered into the "I don't want to get that phase, just in case someone gets it for me" but it's hard to resist when you see something you like.

I've been after a new bag for ages and I have had my eye on a beautiful Michael Kors one but not even several paydays would help me get one of those! So when I spotted a beautiful black Michael Kors inspired bag in Topshop I knew I had to get it. I actually didn't buy it the first time I saw it when I went shopping with my sister, but the next day she rang me up whilst in Topshop (again) and asked me if I wanted her to pick it up for me. I knew I couldn't resist this time and I promptly handed over my pennies! It's perfect for work and casual use and is big enough to fit in all my usual "toot" that I carry around. I'm thinking of doing a What's in my bag? post soon as I haven't actually ever done one of those before. Let me know if you'd like to see one.

Naturally after Topshop the next shop on my stop was Boots. I've actually avoided going into Boots for several weeks as I know there are lots of new cosmetic releases that I want to pick up. However, I was quite restrained and only picked up the Soap & Glory One Heck of  a Blot powder. I've read/watched a few reviews on this and wanted to get something to replace my Rimmel Stay Matte Powder as I have really gone off this recently. When I was paying, I got a £5 No7 Skincare & £3 No7 Make Up voucher though so I think I will have to make use of that...any ideas of things I could pick up?

I'm going to try and continue to be good and not buy anything else until after my birthday. We shall see if I can keep this up. I just need to avoid the shops and the difficult could that be? Help...


Monday, 8 September 2014

Birthday Wishlist

It's my birthday in under two weeks and even though I'm edging ever closer to the big three-o, I still find myself getting excited. Usually, when people ask me what I would like for my birthday I can never give them a clear idea, so I've given it some serious thought this time (hopefully they'll see this post!).

Eiffel Tower Jewellery Holder £6.50 Gifts & Pieces
I love the Eiffel Tower and this little jewellery holder would be perfect for housing my rings and necklaces whilst I'm not wearing them.

Muji Acrylic Storage Drawers £24.95 Muji
I've had my eye on these Muji drawers for a while as I want to put them on my IKEA Malm desk (when I finally get round to purchasing it!)

Moschino Pink Bouquet £22.75 50ml Debenhams
I received a sample of this in a Debenhams order and have been hooked on it ever since. It's currently on offer in Debenhams and Boots. If I don't get it as a gift, I'm definitely going to purchase it after as it is a really great offer.

MAC Plumful Lipstick £15.50 MAC Cosmetics
Plumful has been on my MAC wishlist since last year and is a great shade for the upcoming autumn season.

MAC Pro Palette & 15 Eyeshadow Insert £16.50 MAC Cosmetics
I also need to update my MAC storage as I have a quad pro palette which is now full. I'm hoping that the 15 palette will take me a little longer to fill up!

Clinique Cheek Pop Blush £16.50 Boots
After seeing several posts on Clinque's summer blush offering (and testing it several times in the shop) I have finally decided on plum pop. It's such a pretty design!

GHD Limited Edition Coral Straightener £129.99 GHD
I've had my current GHD straighteners for the last six years and think it's time for a little update. I really love the colours on this coral styler!

What do you think to my birthday wishlist picks?


Friday, 5 September 2014

My Weight Loss Journey | Week 1

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A little bit of background information for you all. I've always had a pretty bad relationship with food. My Mum said I woke up one day when I was two years old and everything I had eaten before then, I just wouldn't touch. I love sweet things and hated fruit and vegetables. To this day I still struggle to eat most fruits as I seem to have some kind of allergic reaction and can't breathe. I've never been particularly slim, I always had that "puppy fat" that family all said I would grow out of, but never did.

I am twenty-seven (almost twenty-eight) years old, eleven and a half stone, five foot three and a UK size 14. I am the national average, but I am unhappy. Some people may think I am wrong for being unhappy at this size. I love myself as a person, I don't hate what I see in the mirror everyday, and without wanting to sound big headed, I don't think I am unattractive, I just don't like what I see elsewhere.

Only recent events have made me kick start this weight loss journey, namely my sisters engagement and seeing photos of myself at a friends wedding. Also, my husband has lost four stone in weight over the last year by hard work at the gym and healthy eating and my Mum has lost two stone by following Slimming World.

I hate the gym, I'm scared of them, I'm worried I will be the fat girl in the corner not knowing what she is doing on the equipment. I'm scared people will laugh like they did in school when I tried desperately to get changed before all the cool kids came back. So for now, until I gain some body confidence I will be trying exercise at home.

My stomach is my biggest issue, it always has been, shopping for bottom halves has always been a chore as there is always something wrong with them, too small for my hip or stomachs or too long in the legs. I realise now, that I alone am the only person who can change this, no one else can do this for me and I am hoping that sharing my thoughts for the first time with the outside world, that I will continue to find the motivation to succeed.

The first thing that needs to change is the food, and that started this week. Monday was the first time that I did a food shop that didn't contain, chocolate, biscuits, crisps and chips etc and it actually felt good. As weird as it sounds, I actually felt proud knowing that I was making a better decision. Now I'm not saying it's wrong to buy those things but it's all about moderation and I know that if things like that are in the house, I WILL eat them, then feel immense remorse afterwards so if they're not there, I can't be tempted!

I will be trying to keep a food diary and update you of my progress each week. I haven't weighed or measured myself this week yet, but when I do, I will post the information up here, I'm also going to try and post some photos to document the changes.

If you would like to join me or wish me luck on my journey then please feel free to comment below. I know that half the battle, is getting support and motivation to succeed.

..and thank-you for reading this far!