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Something for the weekend (#3)

This week's Something for the weekend is a round up of the best bits of the blogosphere from the last 7 days.

Spring has well and truly sprung in the nail colour department - check out these fresh shades and get painting!

I've made a pledge to spend more of my expendable income on experiences, rather than material goods. Here's why.

This beautifully written post from Miann at Free People has been inspiring me to get up a little earlier each day for some quality quiet time.

For those who get itchy feet around this time of year, I've shared my top tips for finding a good rented property.

Or, if you're just in need of a de-clutter and refresh, Laura at A Beautiful Mess has some advise for those short on time.

Happy weekend everyone!!

Spring nails!

That's right, I'm declaring it spring over on the blog! This winter has been grim and grey and while I love the cold weather, I much prefer frost and pale sunlight to mud and cloudy skies. One area I definitely like to mimic the seasons with is my nail colour choices, and there are a few fail-safe options for creating fresh, spring-like fingertips.

Heading up the nudes is Barry M's Gelly Nail Paint in Almond - it's widely heralded as an awesome colour dupe for Nails Inc's Porchester Square, lasts all week and won't break the bank.

Add a splash of muted, dusky pink with Bourjois' So Laque! in Beige Glamour - This stuff is shiny as hell and while on it's own the wear-time isn't amazing, a coat of Rimmel's Finishing Touch top coat will help it last 5-7 days.

A spring colour palette wouldn't be complete without a little blue, and for the pastel fans among us Barry M's Gelly range has just the ticket. The shade Elderberry is beautifully light but still adds a pop of colour.

For the more daring, the shade Districtly Come Dancing from Rimmel's 60 second range lasts just as long as all the above when applied with a good base and top coat.

Are your nails spring ready?

Finding a good rented property


It's been about 8 months since Mat and I moved to Cambridge to live together, and it's been a bit of a learning curve. We had some teething issues with the property that weren't immediately obvious but luckily, after some persistence, these have now been totally resolved and we're content with where we are. That said, there are a few things I wish someone had told me before we took the plunge.

Check the council tax rate - Our council tax is £137 a month. While there are probably some who pay more, and some less, we didn't really factor this in when considering how much our rent and bills were going to be. If you're renting from a letting agent they should have the council tax band displayed in the listing, which you can then go online with and find out how much the damage will be.

Check for mould, mildew and condensation - Depending on your budget, you may find that properties at the cheaper end of the spectrum are single glazed or don't have extractor fans fitted in the bathroom and kitchen. This can be bad news, as poor ventilation can lead to condensation and mould. Check windowsills, ceilings and tile grouting for signs of mould. If mould is black I would advise you run a mile as this can be a health hazard.

Go for gas heating if you can - A lot of flats are fitted with electric storage heating, and while modern systems aren't much less efficient than good old gas heating, old storage heaters can consume more energy, throw out a dusty, musty smell and be a fire hazard if you were to hang anything over them. We got lucky with gas heating as our flat is a converted house, but be choosy with this if you can.

Be aware that you probably won't be able to redecorate - Our flat is a horrifying, soul destroying shade of magnolia throughout. While some people might not mind it, I do and the fact that we aren't allowed to redecorate makes making the place our own a bit tricky. Invest in prints and canvases to brighten the place up if, like us, you can't attack the walls with glorious matte white.

Image source (that's right, this is not my house)

Birchbox February 2015: Birchbox Loves

I'll be honest and say that I had been getting a little tired of Birchbox - I'm considering switching to My Little Box for a change as I like the idea of the crafty products and magazine. This month's Birchbox however turned out pretty good, and it's probably the first time in a while I can say I'll gladly use everything I received. Here's what I got in my valentines themed box:

theBalm cosmetics Stainiac in Beauty Queen - I'm becoming a big fan of theBalm thanks to Birchbox. This stain is subtle despite looking blood red in the tube, which I love.

T London Darjeeling Bath & Shower Wash - I've never really heard of this brand before but it smells devine. I think I'll keep this perfectly sized luxe sample for our holiday in June.

Cynthia Rowley Beauty Eyeliner - I have heard a lot about this liner but wasn't sure about the silvery shade I received until I tried it. It's great for adding a twinkle to the inner corners of the eyes and stays put.

Wild About Beauty Rose Water Illuminating Serum - A full size sample of frankly the best serum I've tried. It locks in moisture and brightens my complexion. Safe to say this is going straight into my daily skincare routine.

The Chia Co. Oats + Chia - A yummy, nutritious breakfast treat that only requires water? Don't mind if I do.

Liz Earle Botanical Shine Shampoo - Again I think I'll be saving this until my holiday but I cannot wait to try it. Natural and nourishing, this stuff promises to bring out the best in your hair without an overly chemical formula.

Collect moments, not things

Would you rather spend £20 on a new top, or on a train ticket to see an old uni friend? Would you rather have that fancy new iPhone cover you've had your eye on for a week, or pop the cash into a holiday fund?

The title of this post is a quote that has been following my around a lot. On Pinterest, on Instagram, on blogs... it's been everywhere. It seems fairly appropriate, especially seeing as right now I'm at a point in my life where genuine spare time and a decent cashflow are in short supply. 

We've just booked a little holiday to Marrakech in June, I'm journeying to see two good friends in two different places this month, and while my bank account isn't thanking me for it, and I can't really splurge on anything material until my next pay day, I couldn't be happier. Afterall, research has repeatedly found that spending out on an experience rather than physical things creates greater, longer lasting happiness. 

It's also worth bearing in mind that while some experiences do cost money, so many don't or are incredibly cheap! Take a long walk with a loved one in a picturesque park, spend the day people watching in a local coffee shop, volunteer at your local library or elderly day centre, possibilities are limited only by your imagination! You can even get journeys across the country and into Europe for as little as £1 using services like Megabus so what are you waiting for? Get out there and make some memories! 

And most importantly, try not to spend every trip you take or experience you have thinking of what angle would make the best shot for your Instagram - get out from behind your camera or device and live in the moment. Even better, invest in a Polaroid style instant camera like the FujiFilm Instax Mini 8 for instant, candid shots you can keep forever. You'll thank yourself later for the amazing memories you've made.

Something for the weekend (#2)

This week has flown by quickly, but nicely, as I've had a couple of days off work to chill, get organised, and hang out with Mat. Here are some of my blog-related highlights from the last week:

I've been indulging a little more in my skincare recently - check out my favourites for a Sunday pamper here.

I'm no stranger to writers block and have been struggling a little for original post ideas lately! The lovely Rebecca at From Roses read my mind with this helpful advice on how to pull yourself out of inspirational slump.

Hannah Gale has official entered the building as a full-time blogger and I couldn't be happier about it. I'm looking forward to more frank posts like this one about why we find it so hard to accept that we are good enough, as well as some general hilarity and some beauty and style thrown in for good measure.

This week I've been obsessing over indoor plants on Pinterest. I haven't spied the perfect succulents for myself just yet but it looks as though plenty of others have!

Lastly (but not least) I've been looking to get back into meditation. I used to do it all the time - on my lunch break, before bed, on trains - but since changing jobs and moving in with Mat I've been finding it hard to catch those quiet, still moments. This post from the ladies at A Little Opulent has only made me feel more serious about making it a habit once more.

What have you lot been up to this week?

Interior trends: Plants

Anyone know what the succulent in the bottom right is called? I have one of these and I love it so much, but I don't know exactly what it is. Is it a type of aloe, or what? Thanks! Cookie

Cactus in white pots

How to Grow Cacti Indoors another in honor of granny a back half wall of cacti sitting on top I will have!

Tips for looking after plants: 6 ways how NOT to kill your house plants

can't wait to get a few of these hanging terrarium succulents for the apartment!

cacti / shop sweet things

If your coffee table and bookcase aren't lined with miniature succulents then I just don't know what you're doing with your life. Ok, I'm kidding! But, these little beauties are experiencing something of a revival at the moment. A few cacti in some cute pots will add a pop of life and colour to any room, and you could even get crafty and decorate your own pots too. What's not to like?!

Images and their sources can be found on my Pinterest board here

A Sunday pamper duo

I like to use Sundays to indulge a little - think candles, Netflix or some chill music, probably a little chocolate, and my favourite skincare products. Two products that have featured in these pamper routines a lot recently are Korres Jasmine Shower Gel and Cattier Green Clay and Mint Mask.

Neither are hugely expensive, but bring an extra little something to the table. The jasmine scent of the shower gel is really so beautiful and reminds me of a luxurious spa. Although of a gel consistency it also isn't in any way drying and makes my skin feel silky soft. You can also count on Korres products to be cruelty free and free from any nasty chemicals which is an added bonus.

Cattier's clay masks are something I really enjoy using. I have oily skin which can need controlling, but in the winter I need to be careful not to dry out areas like my forehead and nose - oily faces can be dehydrated too! This particular mask has a lovely refreshing scent and clarifies the skin. It contains natural oils and lactic acid, which I'm hoping will help control the breakouts I've been having and help ease scarring with continued use.

These two products will make great additions to any pamper routine, whether it's the weekend or mid-week - it can be so refreshing to swap your usual budget products for a little luxury from time-to-time.

What products do you swear by for a good bit of pampering?

Beating winter skin

I'm an oily skinned girl, as I've no doubt mentioned several times before, but that doesn't mean my skin doesn't get dehydrated. I find the winter can be a constant battle between trying to get rid of dry patches and having a face that resembles a slip and slide. Couple that with chapped lips, dry hands and itchy eyes and frankly this season is really not good for the skin. Luckily, this year I've found a few products that help and I now really wouldn't be without them!

For your daytime face: I've seen this stuff recommended by beauty fanatics everywhere, and boy is it good. Clinique's Dramatically Different Moisturising Lotion + gets deep into the skin and helps strengthen its own moisture barrier, making the benefits last. I don't always use this on my whole face, usually just dry areas like my nose and temples. It means that makeup just glides on and there's no flakiness in sight.

For your night time face: My skin can get suffocated by thick night creams and that tends to spell the word 'breakout', so I usually turn to The Body Shop's Tea Tree Night Lotion for a little moisture while I sleep. The tea tree formula acts as a natural antibacterial as well as controlling excess sebum, and from my experience actually does work!

For dry, itchy eyes: I love the Botanics skincare range by Boots. It's affordable and covers a range of different skin types so there's something for everyone, and uses organic and natural ingredients. Their 80% Organic Hydrating Eye Cream is something of a holy grail product for me. Intensely moisturising without being irritating or chemical smelling, and while it takes a couple of minutes to soak in also not greasy. I'll happily apply under-eye concealer over the top of this too.

For sore hands: I love hand cream, and do get dry, cracked knuckles this time of year, but I also get clammy palms.This has in the past been a dilemma when trying to choose a hand cream that can ease the dryness on one side without giving me slippery paws on the other. Enter The Body Shop Almond Hand & Nail Cream, a nourishing formula that soaks in quickly without leaving a stickyish residue. I keep a tube on my desk and a tube in my bag so I'm never without!

For chapped lips:
I recently invested in the Burt's Bees Replenishing Pomegranate Oil Lip Balm after my lips dried out so much they bled and my usual go-to just wasn't cutting it. This stuff is magic and the slight pinky tint keeps lips looking healthy while the formula does its thing. I saw a difference after barely a day and now I don't let it leave my bag!

For a parched bod: Much like I totally forgot to include a body product in the photo for this post (damnit), so many of us are in such a rush in the mornings we forget anything below the neck. I like to slather on Soap & Glory's highly regarded The Righteous Butter after a shower, as it's very moisturising but soaks in quickly so you can get dressed sharpish. The scent is also amazing and although my skin can be a bi sensitive to perfumed products I've never had a problem with this stuff, even after shaving.

So there you go, hopefully this selection will help you banish dull, dry winter skin for good this time!