Thursday, 14 December 2017

Favourite Things I Bought on Holiday - Part One // Florida 2017

I don't know about you but I love reading through a good haul post! We recently travelled to Walt Disney World in Florida and somehow only packed one suitcase between three of us meaning that the other two were free for lots and lots of Disney goodies! 

I'm sure I don't need to tell you that shopping at Disney and the local area is really, *really* good and as I've been pretty good this year not buying stuff for myself, I wanted to treat myself to a few special bits to bring home.

Today I'm going to share a few of my favourite things that made it back to England with me in addition to my Basin and Bath & Body Works hauls that I shared on the blog recently. 

Let's get stuck in, shall we?! 

Firstly, we have this gorgeous chalkboard style coffee mug. It's just the right size for my morning cuppa (huge!) and I am loving the monochrome colour scheme and matte black glaze. The mug is complete with some of Disney's favourite sayings including "never grow up", "happiest place on earth" and "believe in magic" and I just love it! 

Next we have a couple of souvenirs from the resort we stayed at, Animal Kingdom Lodge. We found that they didn't have a huge range of their own merchandise, especially compared to somewhere like the Art of Animation resort which had everything you could possibly think of. However, I fell in love with these handmade wooden giraffe utensils which will forever remind me of watching these gentle giants from our balcony each morning and evening. I also had to buy the Animal Kingdom Lodge cushion because cushions are my absolute weakness, even though it doesn't go with anything else in our house!

Next up we have these very American Disney car aerial toppers which I found in Target and were a complete bargain compared to the ones sold on Disney property. I like to change these up on our car after every Disney trip so here's a few more for the collection!

My only Walt Disney World CD purchase of 2017! I know this is available on Spotify but I have been wanting this soundtrack for a while on actual CD because yep, I'm one of those people who still like to buy them! I adore Finding Nemo - the Musical, I think it's my favourite show in Animal Kingdom and we saw it a million times on our most recent trip! The songs are so cute, I just can't get enough! 

Next we have a set of three hot chocolates which I also bought last year.... they are so good! The tins are actually quite tiny so you only get like two cups of each flavour but I think it's worth it. The white chocolate is incredible! I'm going to get myself some cream and marshmallows to enjoy these properly. It's definitely the weather for it at the moment! 

Yep, I got sucked into buying the neon backpack that is available in almost every Disney shop on property. To be fair, it's a great size and not too heavy for carrying around the parks all day. I also love the embroidered Walt Disney World logo on the front. This bag will definitely be coming back with us on our future Disney trips as it's great! 

Another Starbucks "You Are Here" mug for the collection (I say collection, I now have two..... haha!). I fell for the hippo from It's a Small World on this mug, there's no way I was going to leave it behind in the shop! I wasn't going to buy the full range but I think I'm going to have to buy the Epcot and Hollywood Studios mugs on our next trip now! They are just the right size and so good to drink from! 

Finally for today we have these dark chocolate mint squares from Ghirardelli. I bought a super huge bag of these which we devoured within days of being home so I am majorly regretting not buying more to keep us going. They are a m a z i n g. I am also obsessed with the peppermint bark which we loved on holiday so why I didn't bring any to bring home is certainly a question I keep asking myself. I don't really have a sweet tooth but Ghiradelli chocolate is just amazing.

I have a few more favourites I want to share but I'll leave it here for today. Part two coming soon! 

Thanks for reading x

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Review // Tattoo care with Eco Cosmetics

I've been tattooed for a couple of years now and it's definitely one of those things that I often think to myself why on earth did I wait so long to get started?! Currently I have quite the collection of them ranging from the smallest to bigger thigh fillers. I have well and truly caught the tattoo bug! Being tattooed has given me a new found appreciation for many things that include but are not limited to body confidence, just how amazing the human body is and just how rude some people can be too! I'll save that last one for another post though, eh?! 

I literally love everything about the process of being tattooed. From researching the best artists to actually getting tattooed (even though it hurts, yes!) to looking after my ink long after it has healed. I am working on getting my legs fully tattooed and so I'm most definitely in this for the long haul as I have a lot of leg still to cover.... haha!

I know this sounds super nerdy but I am really pedantic about looking after my tattoos as I intend for them to look their best for years to come. Long term care is something I think a lot of people overlook but I have adapted my routine over the past few years to include everything from using the right products to keep the skin pampered and moisturised to staying out of the sun and even eating a better diet. Healthy skin is gonna keep that ink bright and fresh for as long as possible, am I right?! 

Recently, I received an email from Eco Cosmetics who have developed a range of products that have been designed specifically for tattooed skin and they very kindly asked if i''d like to try some out. I jumped straight on board to put them to the test as you guys know that I am super passionate about finding new products that are cruelty free, chemical free and are actually good to use too!

"For Tattoo Lovers" is a superb range of products that have been designed to care for and protect tattooed skin. The range contains ingredients that have been selected specifically to look after your ink including noni extract which is renowned for it's healing and rejuvenating properties. These products are packed full of goodness and have no nasties and I absolutely couldn't wait to try them out! 

Let's start with the Tattoo Sun Lotion which is the one product I haven't actually tried out yet for obvious reasons (it's currently snowing outside as I write this!). This is the first sun lotion that I have personally come across that has been specifically created for use on tattooed skin and I am really looking forwards to trying it out when the sun makes an appearance again in 2018! 

I love the fact that it is a lotion (I hate sun protection that comes in oil format.... so messy!) and that it comes with a pump dispenser. Products that are quick and easy to use are always a winner in my book!  

The sun lotion is an SPF 30 and all of the ingredients inside are of 100% natural origin. As it's so gentle and natural, I'd have absolutely no problem using this on kiddo too. It's free of synthetic sunscreen filters and provides immediate protection so I'll definitely be popping this in my bag to use on the whole family, not just my tattooed legs! 

Next we have the Tattoo Shower Gel which is the product that I was the most excited about because I never know what I should be using to cleanse my tattooed skin effectively! Once again, I love the design of the bottle which comes with a flip top lid. Super easy and fuss free.... my kinda thing! 

The fruity smell is gentle but refreshing and this shower gel foams up beautifully without using harsh foaming agents such as SLS. A little goes a long way and the 200ml size bottle is going to last me a long time, I'm sure! 

I love that this range of products covers everything from cleansing to pampering, it really makes me feel reassured that I am covering all bases when it comes to looking after my tattooed skin!  

Finally, we have the Tattoo Body Lotion. Let me tell you, I flipping love this product. It's a superb lotion suitable for every day use and contains SPF 10 which acts as daily UV protection and reduces the bleaching effects of sun radiation. It also contains panthenol which actively helps to protect tattoo colour. 

Basically, it's ace! 

I usually use thicker creams on my skin, especially during winter but this lightweight lotion does just as good a job and is an absolute delight to use.

The lotion melts into the skin effortlessly and smells just delicious in a gentle, fruity, natural and refreshing kinda way. It feels super soothing to use and isn't at all greasy meaning that I can get dressed immediately after using it. 

Again, a little goes a long way and I really do think that my skin feels brighter and refreshed after applying it to my tattoos. 

As with all of the Eco Cosmetics products, the body lotion is vegan and cruelty free. I am really so impressed with this product, so much so that I have currently swapped it for my usual unscented cocoa butter as my daily go-to body moisturising product. 

I feel that this lotion would be a really good one to use in summer as it's so refreshing but obviously I'm going to use it all year round as it's so lovely! 

Before I wrap up this post, I finally wanted to mention the beautiful design of these products. They look incredible, don't they?! Each of the three products come in a gorgeous little box which is both printed on the inside and out. They would make perfect gifts for any of your tattooed buddies or just as a treat for yourself!

If you're looking for natural, vegan, cruelty free products to care for tattooed skin then I would really recommend checking out Eco Cosmetics. You can find out lots more on their website and also over on their instagram and twitter pages. 

Have you got any tips for long term tattoo care? I would love to hear them so please leave a comment below!

* I was kindly sent these products in return for an honest review. As always, all content and thoughts are my own

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Review // A Spaceship Earth Canvas Print from Photowall

If you know me, even if you only slightly know me, you'll know that I am pretty much obsessed with Disney holidays. I always love having the next trip in the pipeline and having something to look forwards to keeps me motivated to work hard, save hard and keep focused.

You might think that our house is full of Disney souvenirs and ornaments from our trips but after a mega selling splurge on eBay, I don't actually have much of my own at all anymore (kiddo however still seems to own every Disney plush produced in the past 4 years.... argh!).

With this in mind, I have been wanting my own little piece of Disney on display at home for a while now to remind me of the most magical place on earth. 

So when Photowall got in touch with me recently* and very kindly asked if I'd like to choose one of their products to try out, I knew instantly that I wanted one of the large canvas prints using an image taken on one of our Disney holidays! 

Photowall are a brand that I haven't come across before but I was very impressed to see that they are a company who specialise in full size wall murals, photo wallpapers and canvas prints. They are a Swedish company with a passion for design and quality and their products are not only environmentally friendly, they are both fire retardant in accordance with Swedish standards and do not fade in sunlight. 

The thing that I love most about Photowall though is that you have the option of either selecting an image from their huge catalogue of images which are neatly categorised (Disney, patterns, space, textures, maps, etc) or you can upload an image of your own to use. Literally, the options for what you can have made into a canvas or a wall mural are limitless!

We are due to have some major work done on our house very soon but let me tell you, if I was in a position to get a wall mural then I would have totally jumped on that because they look amazing. The Moomin designs are just ridiculously cute!

I opted for the canvas print, which in hindsight was the best choice as it can be moved from room to room depending on what room we are having work done to. After a bit of deliberation, I opted for an oversized canvas print using own my image of a close-up of Spaceship Earth in Epcot because not only is Epcot one of my favourite parks, I thought that the design would be not overly 'Disney' and would sit nicely with the grey and white colour scheme I am planning for our house.

Ordering the canvas couldn't have been more simple! I loved the fact that you could edit, crop and select precisely how big you wanted it to be. Having the option to also get help with editing the image was also reassuring as Photowall have graphic artists who can alter your image in a variety of ways for a small fee..... great if you're not confident with photo editing software! 

After placing my order, it was only a few days until the canvas print was delivered to our home....

The canvas comes delivered in a roll in a self assembly format which at first I was slightly hesitant about but actually putting it together turned out to be super duper easy!

I ordered the canvas with the do-it-yourself 29mm thick tenter frame which comes with everything you need to assemble the print including hanging materials. The box comes with a sheet of instructions but you can also find an easy-to-follow video tutorial on the Photowall website which I found really helpful. 

I don't know about you but I find following a video so much easier than following a diagram! 

Honestly, it took me about five minutes to unbox the canvas and get it assembled. It was so, so easy. The screws come with chubby black caps that are easy to tighten to alter the tension of the canvas, you literally don't need any additional tools. 

As each product is made to order, you'll know that everything is going to line up and fit together perfectly. I loved that the canvas met the edge of the wooden frame exactly to the millimetre; the absolute precision and attention to detail is just spot on.

Once the canvas frame up up and assembled, you're pretty much ready to go! If you want to hang it on the wall like a picture then you'll find all the hanging materials necessary inside the box, rawlplugs included. 

I had a go at hanging the canvas on one of the walls in our bedroom. Doesn't it look amazing?! This was shortly before the radiator-falling-off-the-wall disaster however so now we have to re plaster and fix every single thing in our bedroom, I have since had to relocate the print downstairs to the living room. 

Now, see what I mean about the benefit of being able to move it around easily?! 

I popped the print on top of our fireplace and actually, I really like it there for now. 

Any Walt Disney World fan is going to know this is Spaceship Earth but I love that it also looks pretty abstract to non-Disney fans (not that I have any stepping foot inside my house.... everyone loves Disney, right?!).  

I am really impressed with the quality of the canvas too. As you can see, I opted for a pretty huge canvas at 100 cm x 100 cm and the print quality is still crisp, clear and defined. 

I am such a fan of turning photos and memories into art that you can hang on the walls to complement the decor in your home. If you're currently looking for something to brighten up your home too then I'd really recommend popping over to Photowall to see what they have to offer. With their huge range of stunning ready made designs, the option to upload your own and great customer service too, well.... you just can't go wrong!

Also, make sure you visit their instagram page for some mega inspiration. I love seeing what other people have chosen to decorate their home with. Honestly, I could scroll through their feed all day. It's just beautiful! 

I was kindly sent this item from Photowall in exchange for an honest review. As always, all content and thoughts are my own.

Ways to get through a sick day

Since getting home from Florida, our house has come down with nasty colds and viruses that have left us feeling completely wiped out. Honestly, this year we have all been so poorly that I'm starting to consider myself a pro at taking sick days after repeat severe tonsillitis has plagued me for the best part of 2017. 

It has been more than rubbish, I tell ya! 

We're well into that time of year now where seasonal viruses are making their rounds. So it's probably more than likely that you might also need to call a time-out for a few days and get yourself better. With this in mind, today I wanted to share some of my favourite ways to rest and keep yourself entertained whilst you're recuperating!

Get cosy

Firstly, make yourself comfortable. If I'm feeling poorly, I'm a firm believer in turning the sofa into a makeshift bed. I don't like the feeling of being in bed all day so having somewhere 'different' to rest during the daytime makes all the difference. I usually grab my pillow and a blanket, wear my most comfortable clothes and curl up on the sofa with a hot water bottle. It's just perfect when you need a little TLC and want a change of scenery!

Have a movie marathon

Watching your favourite movies back to back is sometimes the only way to get through a sick day. I'll certainly never forget the time I sat through all of the Rocky movies back to back. It certainly kept me busy! I like to stick to feel good movies, anything that will take my mind off how rubbish I am feeling.... whether that's musicals, comedy, inspirational movies or good old Disney classics. Sometimes you just can't beat a movie marathon! 

Online fun

I'm one of those people who spends probably far too much time on my phone and tablet and I'm generally no different when I'm poorly. I'll usually switch from work and emails to online fun though, this my only real difference! Whether it's crushing endless candy, laughing myself silly looking at memes or trying my luck in a game of online bingo, I love having a bit of fun online to help get me through a day of feeling poorly! 

Take a bath

Treat yo'self to a long and luxurious bath using all of your best products to pamper and rejuvenate. Use essential oils or a super fun bath bomb, take a cup of hot sweet tea to sip whilst you're in there, make sure you have your fluffiest towels and pop on some fresh pyjamas for afterwards. It'll do wonders! 

Make a tray

Something I like to do when I am feeling poorly is to grab a tray and make a nice little platter of magazines, my ipad, tissues, medicines, drinks and healthy treats to nibble on. It makes things so much easier having everything you need all in one place, especially if you're feeling so poorly you don't want to keep getting up to fetch supplies!   

Make some lists 

Feeling under the weather can often be a good time to take a step back and think about those all important goals and dreams. Whether it's putting together an immediate 'to-do' list for when you're feeling back to normal or a list of things you want to achieve in the next year. I do this often as it helps keep me focused and motivated to get better! 

Finally, sleep

If you're home because you're feeling under the weather then make sure you do the obvious thing to help yourself feel better which is to get lots and lots of rest. Even if you're not feeling sleepy or you're too poorly/achey to sleep, allowing yourself to lie down and get some rest will help your body recover. I'm always down for a nap, I don't need much persuading for this one! Especially if I get to snuggle down in my favourite bedding. Bliss!

* This is a collaborative post but as always, all content and thoughts are my own. 

Thursday, 7 December 2017

What I bought at Basin // Florida 2017

Basin is one of those stores that I literally want to buy e v e r y t h i n g in as soon as I enter. I have become such a fan of their fresh and fragrant which are both chemical and cruelty free. I need serious restraint when I visit their stores in the Grand Floridian and Disney Springs at Walt Disney World! Their shops are so beautiful and everything smells so yummy!

If you've never been to a Basin store before then make a note of it if you're ever in Orlando (or indeed Las Vegas, they have stores there too!). Their products are super if you have sensitive skin like me. I like to limit the chemicals in what I use as much as I can and Basin products are just perfect. They are so much fun, too! I am such a fan of their Disney soaps and the bath bombs with hidden mickey confetti inside. Kiddo is also a fan of the mini bath bombs and the create-your-own tubes of brightly coloured bath salts.

Let's be honest though, I already have such a stash of bath products at home so I really didn't have the need to buy *anything* but I couldn't resist purchasing a few products to enjoy at home! I bought a bunch of stuff to give as gifts so obviously I'm not going to share those but here are the products I picked up for myself! 

Firstly, bath bombs! In Basin stores, you can grab an empty barrel and fill it with as many of the large bath bombs as possible for a set price. I'm going to say it was around $20, I can't remember exactly.... not expensive though! We managed to fit five in there and oh my goodness, I can't tell you how good they all smell! The bath bomb marbles are also super, just one will scent your bath beautifully.

I've used a few so far and the turquoise one smells like actual heaven, not even kidding. So fresh and luxurious! I also loved the hidden Mickey one that plopped into the bath to reveal copious amounts of red, white and blue Mickey Mouse shapes. Absolutely adorable!  

Next we have lip balms. Now, please believe me here when I say that these are the best lip balms e v e r! I picked up five of the flavours including English Toffee and Coconut to keep me going through the winter months. I believe they also have flavours such as Sangria and Iced Pear but I've not seen them in person before.... I'll keep my eyes peeled for those next time! 

These lip balms are super nourishing, are made with SPF 15, they are lightweight and not at all greasy. They also smell amazing!  

Finally, I bought two of the soaps for myself and quite a few as gifts, too! I love the many, many designs they have but predictably I opted for a couple of the winter Mickey soaps. I bought the gingerbread one last year too and it was good enough to eat so I just had to repurchase it this year! These soaps lather up so well and they smell ridiculously good too! 

Are you a fan of Basin too? What are your favourite products? Let me know in a comment below!

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Five ways I use the internet at home // #BroadbandAndMe

With the world seemingly at our fingertips these days, it is so easy to take it for granted just how much we rely on the Internet in the family home. Thinking of my own childhood just 20 years ago, I literally have no idea how my parents managed shopping, paying bills or booking holidays without the presence of the Internet. Oh, how times have changed! 

When I sit and think about it, it's actually quite scary to think about how much of my life relies on the Internet. I use it for literally everything from streaming music to booking holidays and from working at home to googling how to make the perfect omelette. Even the thought of doing my grocery shopping in a shop and not online makes me shudder. The Internet sure is a marvellous thing and it would certainly be shock to the system to be without it!  

TalkTalk Business recently got in touch and asked if I would like to work with them on their current #BroadbandAndMe campaign* that you might have seen floating around on social media over the last few weeks. They invited me to talk about how we use the Internet on a daily basis and it certainly got me thinking!

Honestly, I don't think that I could even attempt to count the number of ways that we use the Internet at home. It makes life easier unquestionably and now that modern day life is blessed with super fast broadband connections, we are so lucky to live in a world where the possibilities of using technology at home are becoming seemingly limitless! With this in mind, today I wanted to share with you my personal top five ways that we use the Internet at home and why they have such a positive effect on our lives.

Working wherever I like

Super fast and reliable broadband has given me the ability to work from home, working around my husbands full time job meaning that I get to spend as much time with kiddo as possible without having to rely on expensive childcare. Having access to the internet 24/7 means that I can work both when she's at preschool and in the evenings. It has also opened up a world of opportunities that I didn't even know existed up until a few years ago. Working from home is currently perfect for me and perfect for us as a family! 

Interacting with the local community

The internet is the first place I look to whenever I want to find out what's on at the weekend, local events, cinema times, local news, restaurant menus and even trace the owners of lost pets that we have found in our garden or house! I love that we have access and the answers to pretty much anything at the touch of a button. As somebody who is going through a period of de-cluttering, I frequently hit up local Facebook groups or the Freecycle network to offer my items to people who might need them in the local area. Without the internet, all of these tasks would be so much more difficult!

Entertainment on demand 

I doubt that there are many family homes that don't use the Internet for entertainment purposes nowadays! We absolutely love using our Amazon Fire TV Stick to access our DisneyLife subscription, YouTube, and catch-up TV as we never, ever watch regular TV. We love being able to stream music all over the house and from different devices. We love using Internet radio too! 

Shopping when and where I want

Another one of my favourite way to use the Internet is shopping. I love shopping, especially when I don't have to get up from the sofa to do it! The Internet is so, so good for making purchases.... I don't know what we did before it! Using a combination of cashback sites, coupons and deal finders I'm always able to bag myself a bargain whether it's on hotel bookings or grocery shopping. It's great for frugal shoppers like me and it's great for claiming back some of that much needed family time (I am so thankful that I do have the need to drag my child around a supermarket each week!). Online shopping is the best!   

Synchronised schedules

Finally, having constant and fast access to the Internet is great for synchronising our calendars as a family. Events, appointments and reminders are easily accessed by my husband and I, limiting the risk of double booking or forgetting about important dates! I find this is essential for easing the day to day stress of family life especially as I am one of those people who likes to be super organised.

How much do you rely on the Internet in your home? I'd love to hear your thoughts! 

* This is a collaborative post but as always, all content and thoughts my own

Monday, 4 December 2017

House plans // Stairs, walls, doors and radiators

It dawned on me the other day that we have now been living in our current home for 6 years.... s i x whole years. I still remember the anticipation of receiving the keys and stepping inside for the first time, all the plans we had to renovate and make this place our own. We decorated, laid carpets, bought furniture and started making plans for all the big stuff... a new bathroom, a new kitchen, new woodwork and to get rid of that ugly woodchip wallpaper that leads up the stairs and covers the landing. 

But life soon got in the way. A baby, busy working lifestyles and lots of dog walking quickly filled our time and so doing *anything* major to the house was the last thing we had time for. Over the past few months though, we've been going through a period of seemingly *everything* breaking at home all at once and now it's time to bite the bullet and get something done! 
Just last week our bedroom radiator literally just fell off the wall due to the 100 year old plaster just not being able to support anything on the walls even longer. So it's all systems go now to get our home up to the standard that I'd love to see it and I'd love to share our fixer upper journey with you through my blog!

Our main focus to begin with is going to be the upstairs walls and getting them safe and damp free. Whilst we're at it though we've decided to get the internal doors, skirting boards and stairs up to scratch at the same time because well, I'm just one of those people who doesn't do things by halves.... I go all in! In the past few days we have been booking damp surveys, getting little bits fixed and getting excited about picking stair designers and colour schemes. It's all systems go!  

I'm so excited to get our stairs and landing looking good because currently it is my absolute least favourite part of the house. I'd love to go super modern and super clean, utilising compact staircases to make the most of the space in our house. When it comes to lighting and heating, I'm also craving both functionality and simplicity. I have a real love for minimalist design at the moment and I want to create a home that is both practical for a busy family and looks great too! 

Of course, all of our work is going to be done on a budget and I'll be looking to both Instagram and Pinterest for some real life home inspiration as we make our plans. If you post photographs of your home on either of those platforms then do share your links in the comments below!

I am so excited to share our fixer upper journey with you!