THE TWO OF US BOOK

The book : The two of us
The Author : Andy Jones
Where to buy : Waterstones | Tesco | Amazon
Rating 3/5

This months book was my choice & I will admit, I chose it based on the cover and a very quick read of the blurb while doing my food shop in Tesco! Having never heard of Andy Jones before, and feeling pretty intrigued that this ‘chic lit style’ book was actually written by a man it went into my basket.

The entire story is focused about Ivy and Fishers relationship… they’ve not been together long and a few weeks down the line discover they are to be parents! We join them on this journey over the next 9 months. We witness the ups and downs both of pregnancy and their relationship with one another throughout this time. The book is told from Fishers point of view which I find really refreshing to hear it from the other side of the story. Often books of this nature are from the females perspective and you don’t really get an insight of what the man is feeling, thinking, or doing about the situation. The story is extremely heartwarming and what I feel is an honest representation of the feelings and motions that a newly formed couple would go through when put in this situation. Unplanned pregnancy does happen and there are some curve balls thrown in during the journey that have to be addressed whether you want to or not.

The book itself is a really easy read, if I hadn’t had a lot of things going on I could have finished this in a matter of days. That being said, as it did take me a little longer to read, it was one I could dip in and out of without any problems. Sometimes I get so gripped by the book I just have to keep reading to find out what happens next. However with The Two of Us I did feel some parts were a little predictable so I had no problems putting down the book to then pick it up and continue reading a couple of days later. Being an avid Chic Lit and easy read fan I didn’t find this too much of a problem but I know there are some people who wouldn’t like this element of the book. Perhaps it wouldn’t suck them in and dare I say it, they could get bored a little by the plot.

Overall I did enjoy the book. I liked that I was reading it from a different perspective as its not often you have a male lead character in books of this nature. Not ones where you get such an insight to what they are thinking & feeling about the situation anyway! Learning about Ivy and Fisher as people throughout this important time in their lives was great. Two people who seem quite opposite but somehow work together, a lot of honest, real emotion is present throughout the story. Like I previously said, if you are looking for a quick read for your holiday or something easy to read during your commute this is one I would recommend.

Have you read this book before? What did you think?

Don’t forget to heck out Lorna, Lizzie's and Charli’s posts to see what they thought of the book.

Click here to read last months blogger book club review: The day we disappeared by Lucy Robinson

Much love, 
1
NEWBURY SUMMER RACES

As we now live on the Newbury Racecourse development, it’s a given that we will attend the horse racing meets more often. Last Saturday was the annual Party in the Paddock event, each year they book some form of musical talent to keep the crowds entertained after all the races are over.This year it was provided by DJ Fresh and Danny Howard, did I enjoy the sets? Well they were okay, nothing too special to rave about!

As my 27th birthday was the day before, we decided to have a little get together with friends and make it sort of a celebratory day. Our friends who also live in this apartment block hosted for us all. Suz did a great job of baking me a super chocolatey birthday cake along with providing a whole range of sandwiches and snacks for us to munch on before heading literally across the grass to the premier enclosure of the racecourse. For most the going to the races is a bit like going to a wedding, you want to dress nice. Naturally all of us girls discussed our outfit choices on the lead up to the event, I was very kindly sent a dress by Apricot Clothing which I knew would be perfect for the occasion.

NEWBURY SUMMER RACES
NEWBURY SUMMER RACES

My dress* from here | Suz' dress from here | Shelley's dress from here 

I love the mint cherry blossom print. Those that know me, will be aware I don’t tend to go for printed items of clothing but this one just caught my eye. The cut I feel is also very flattering for my body shape. I often hide behind loose/baggy items of clothing so it was a bit strange to wear something a lot more fitted. Having looked on the Apricot website I’ve found myself lusting over other pieces they have available. The sizes are true to size and everything is pretty affordable. My dress for the races was £32.00 (now in the sale at £15) which I think is brilliant. It’s often tough to find something suitable for an occasion like the races or even a wedding without spending a small fortune. Their website is definitely worth  a look if you want something more affordable. A lot of people liked my dress, so it made me feel pretty good considering it was a little out of my comfort zone. Maybe I should try more fitted styles in the future! What do you think?

Much love, 
5
ROSE GOLD JEWELLERY

I’m becoming a bit of a jewellery gal (maybe I’ve been talking to Lorna too much that girl loves a good layered necklace) These days I find myself browsing online for some form of jewellery over other accessories and dare I say it… sometimes even handbags! I like how much of a variety you can have when it comes to jewellery. One day you can go big with a statement necklace or multitude of bangles on your wrist, then next a minimalist approach with something simple like a plain bracelet or ring. I tend to keep things simple when it comes to outfits for work, I’m not a bit pattern girl really. Therefore I enjoy adding a nice bit of jewellery to accessorise an outfit whether it be something bold or dainty.

On one of my many browsing sessions I came across the designer Maria Black on the Avenue 32 website. For all you rose gold lovers out there. This is your gal! The collection available is small but all the pieces are beautiful. My favourites from this collection would have to be the Row Bangle and the Taylor ring. Both simple in design, they work well as single pieces. However one of the thought process Maria has behind her jewellery collection is that they are interchangeable and work well combined as well as on their own. By using a selection of precious metals &  a variety of shapes within the designs really helps with this. The necklaces can be layered, rings stackable & you can mix and match the earring designs to create something completely different.

I’ll admit the prices aren’t like your usual highstreet offerings, but I’ve turned into a bit of a quality over quantity person, so wouldn’t mind paying a bit extra for a special necklace or ring that I will get a lot of wear out of. Perhaps not a collection I could rush out and buy a lot of in one go, but over time I could add a few pieces into my jewellery box!

Do you go on the hunt for brands that aren’t as well known? I’m so pleased I discovered Maria Black, I’ll definitely be doing a bit more searching when looking for specific types of accessories. You can find some really nice designs if you put the time in to look.


Much love
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Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water – My go to for easy and quick makeup removal. I’ve tried a few micellar waters in the past but this has to be a favourite of mine, it’s one product I do repurchase regularly. It is unscented and doesn’t irritate my eyes at all which makes it perfect for removing my eyeshadow etc as well as any base makeup at the end of the day. I use this as step one for my double cleanse routine. Available in both large and small bottles it’s the perfect companion for a trip away. (125ML though so not totally hand luggage appropriate I am afraid) I know a lot of people have tried this and most get along with it. It’s a good product that does its job & won’t break the bank. A winner in my books. 

Dermalogica Special Cleansing Gel & the Magnitone Lucid brush* – Using these two products together have been an absolute dream. Dermalogica is a great brand that targets specific skin types with their products, however this cleansing gel is suitable for all. It is designed to remove your impurities without disturbing your skins natural moisture balance. I’ve been using this cleanser for a while now and I have to say I am loving the results. *Touchwood* I have okayish skin anyway, with the odd hormonal breakout, however even when it comes to ‘that time’ my skin has been behaving!  Using the Magnitone Lucid cleansing brush with it has been brilliant and so easy to use. This Electronic facial brush gently cleanses and exfoliates your skin. Again this is suitable for all skin types, regular use of the brush will help minimise your blackheads and breakouts. The one thing that I really love about the magnitone Lucid (not just that it comes in a gorgeous array of biright colours). You can actually use it in the bath or shower as it is waterproof. Making it easy to multitask when you are rushing in the morning to get ready for work! It has two settngs ‘Deep Clean’ or Sensitive. Simply turn on and wait for the beeps which come at 20 second intervals. Move from your forehead, to cheeks/nose to chin for an all over cleanse. It even shuts off after 1 minute so there’s no risk of going a bit OTT with your cleansing! So easy to use and takes no time at all! It also comes with a fancy wireless battery charger, which you only need to use every 2 weeks because the charge lasts ages! Have you tried a cleansing brush like this one before?

 The Body Shop Vitamin E Aqua Boost Sorbet – How I love this sorbet! It not only smells devine it’s ridiculously refreshing on your skin after you’ve completed your other skincare steps. My go to Moisturiser of the moment, it keeps my skin feeling so plump and hydrated. Again ANOTHER product suitable for all skin types so you can all try it! The Vitamin E Range is a popular one anyway but adding this to their line really stepped it up a bit. I’ve found it has been great on the really hot days where my skin has felt particularly parched! It’s £13.00 but The Body shop pretty much always have a sale on or some discount code floating about, definitely worth popping into your basket! 

What skincare bits have you been loving recently? Have you tried any of the products mentioned? 

Much love, 
1

very-important-festival-essentials-blog-post

Hands up, who's heading to a festival this summer? I personally will be going along to Reading festival this year, I am just going along for the Saturday rather than the entire weekend but that’s not going to stop me taking along many a festival essential to ensure my time there is a great experience. With the weather being a bit hit and miss at the moment it’s good to ensure you are covered for all eventualities while watching your fave band/s perform on stage.

FESITVAL CLOTHING ESSENTIALS
KEEP IT COVERED : Whether it’s chucking it down with rain or blaring sunshine, it’s best to ensure you have some sort of cover up during your festival weekend. Taking along a waterproof jacket of sorts is always a good idea. Pack-a-Macs are very popular and affordable. If it’s a bit warmer something lightweight like a Kimono (Buy mine here!) would be perfect. They are stylish, don’t take up much room and will protect your shoulders from the dreaded sunburn, but still keep you cool.

PROTECT YOURSELF : When the sun is shining and there’s limited shady spots within a massive field you need to ensure you are sun savy! Making sure you take a hat of some sorts, whether it be novelty or a classic style like mine to keep those pesky rays at bay. No one wants a sunburnt head! Hats also work well to cover up bad festival hair.. you know.. it’s nearing the end of the weekend and your hair is just doing whatever the heck it wants! Don’t forget to take a trusty pair of sunglasses with you too, no one wants to be squinting/frowning into the sun when you’re trying to enjoy the music! Head to Primark and pick up a cheap pair if you’re worried about breaking/losing them.

KEEP YOUR FEET HAPPY : Wear comfortable shoes. Seriously, why some people think wearing wedges or heels or some sort to a festival is beyond me. It really does happen! Stick to something comfortable. Wellies if its raining. Trainers or some form of sandal if it’s a bit warmer. Be prepared with blister and regular plasters too. Regardless if you are wearing your super old comfy converse, you will need them. Walking/standing in a field hours on end will take its toll on your feet!

FESITVAL BEAUTY ESSENTIALS

HAIR : Day 1 - Your hair will look amazing, Day 3 or 4.. not so much. Keep hair in check by taking a dry shampoo with you. Maybe not the size I have! Get yourself a travel sized one! I've seen some girls wear rollers in their hair for the first day just to ensure their hair is in tip top form for the weekend! You can shower at a festival but they arent the nicest, are often cold and the ques are long. Stick to a trustee can of batiste and you'll be fine! 

STAYING FRESH : Like I said there are showers you can use at a festival, or you can improvise with a bucket of water and a sponge! However I will admit that while at a festival I opt for the baby wipe shower (facial wipes used for photo purposes) Stock up on the wipes. They help to keep you fresh while camping as well as coming in handy during the day for spills, dirt and general muckiness you may encounter while at a festival! No, you wont feel like the cleanest person in the world, but it is something and if it helps you feel a bit more normal then I am all for it. 

TOILET ISSUES : The dreaded festival toilets. No they aren't pleasant but you will have to use them throughout your time there. ALWAYS make sure you have hand sanitizer and pocket tissues with you. The amount of times you go into a portaloo and there is no toilet roll is ridiculous. Most toilet stations have some form of hand sanatizer there for you to use, but just in case take your own that you can keep in your pocket or bag. (To combat festival loo smells I sometimes rub a bit of sanitizer just under my nose before entering, it helps.... a bit) 

What are your festival essentials? 

Much love

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FLOWERS IN A WEDDING CRATE
ORCHARDLEIGH HOUSE WEDDING COLLAGE
ORCHARDLEIGH HOUSE WEDDING COLLAGE


A soulmate is someone who has locks that fit our keys, and keys to fit our locks. 
When we feel safe enough to open the locks, our truest selves step out and we can be completely and honestly who we are; we can be loved for who we are and not for who we’re pretending to be. 
Each unveils the best part of the other. No matter what else goes wrong around us, with that one person we’re safe in our own paradise. 
Our soulmate is someone who shares our deepest longings, our sense of direction. When we’re two balloons, and together our direction is up, chances are we’ve found the right person. 

Our soulmate is the one who makes life come to life.

-The Bridge Across Forever, Richard Bach

To read about our wedding day, check out this blog post here

Much love,
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LIFE : Birthday Wishlist

Monday, 13 July 2015

BIRTHDAY WISHLIST POST
The Ritson Suede bag : Despite being a bit of a handbag fanatic, I don't have a small tan bag in my collection. I know Who am I? When browsing Jack Wills - I often browse and never purchase! I came across this beautiful fold over leather bag. It's the exact thing I am looking for, size wise it will be great for all the essentials. I great summer staple should I receive it as a gift or decide to buy it myself! 

The Delicate Heart Ring : It wasn't until my sister made a comment about buying another Pandora ring that I decided to have a look on their website. I'm fully aware of the bracelets as several members of my family have them and I'll be honest makes buying them a present easy - Just add another charm! I am not a massive jewellery wearer, my engagement and wedding ring are all I have on my hands, but now I'm warming to another ring for my right hand.. it's feeling a little left out! 

The Zoeva Classic Face Set : Having read numerous blog posts & watched all the videos it's safe to say I need these brushes in my life. I have a lot of eye brushes anyway so the classic face set would be perfect for me. When you work out that each brush is approx £7, you realise you are getting a pretty sweet deal buying the set. I do love my Real Techniques brushes but it's nice to have a good selection to choose from isnt it! 

The "I'd rather be buying handbags" mug : See the above point about my love of handbags. :-) 

The Printed Shorts : With my September Holiday in mind & the on/off heatwave the UK is having, I had to add these to the list. Unlike any other shorts I have seen on the highstreet, I love the Colour and pattern combinations. The tassle's just scream summer holiday or festival at me. Combine with a loose cami & a tan = Perfection. 

The One line a day journal : Turning 27 means I'm pretty damn close to the big ol' 3-0. I predict that some exciting things may happen between now and the age of 32. So why not get a journal and note those things down. I love the idea of 1 line a day as it's a lot easier to stick to & slip into your current routine. No pressure to write paragraphs and paragraphs! Because the space is limited, it means I will only write the most significant part of my day/thought/quote (whatever you want) into the journal rather than blabbing on about how it took me 45mins to decide what to wear to work that morning. 

Is there anything you have your eye on at the moment? 

Much love,
5
HUNGEREFORD CANAL BOAT
Hungerford Canal.

1. Go to the beach

2. Visit Whipsnade Zoo

3. Family BBQ

4. Go on a walk somewhere pretty

5. Try out a new restaurant.

6. Go to the races. 

7. Read some great books 

8. Go on a Segway

9. Start Exercising 

10.  Bake more. 


What do you want to do this summer?

Much love 
6

Life: Visiting Scotland.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

SCOTLAND PHOTO COLLAGE

With Toms family originally from Scotland and a recent relocation by his parents, taking a quick flight north has become a semi regular occurrence. We always have such a lovely time catching up with family & my in-laws always ensure we have a jam packed stay full of things to do.  Taking an early flight Friday morning we landed in Glasgow airport at bout 10am, promptly heading towards the city centre in search for breakfast. Of course I couldn't go past the infamous Statue of the Duke of Wellington and his unusual head gear without snapping a photo. Yes that Cone is always there, and I'm pretty sure if someone decided to remove it, another would swiftly be put in it's place - Don't ask me why, I don't know!

About an hours drive from Glasgow is a town called Helensburgh, this is where Tom's parents live. They have a beautiful home right by the edge of the Gare Loch. As you can see from the bedroom snaps I took, Tom's Mum has a hidden talent for interior design. All the rooms are beautifully decorated and put together. I get serious house envy every time I stay. I definitely come back wanting to change things to our flat. Whether it be throwing a lick of paint on the walls, purchasing some fancy new bed linen or simply buying a few decorative bits & bobs to make simple bits of furniture like our coffee table become a feature in the room! You'll find me rushing to the homeware section when popping to Tesco for my weekly shop before the food these days! This time I've returned wanting to add some more colour to our bedroom, so that is now a work in progress! Maybe I'll do a bedroom makeover blog post, would you like to see that? 

SCOTLAND PHOTO COLLAGE

We decided to go along to the Auchentoshan Distillery and pay to go on one of the tours, it only cost £6 each and you got a taster of some whisky at the end. I'm not that big on Whiskey but the tour was interesting none the less. We did end up spending a bit of money in the shop after the tour, they do a version of Auchentoshan whiskey that is just like Baileys, only available to buy at the distillery... Safe to say a bottle of that was swiftly purchased! - Unfortunately its still up in Scotland with Toms parents as hand luggage restrictions meant I couldn't take it on the plane! Don't worry I'll get it in August when they come visit!

Having attended two weddings in the past on Loch Lomond, it was nice to head along to Loch Lomond Shores to take in the sights and have a look around the small selection of shops they have there. Loch Lomond is so beautiful! I'll be heading back there in a couple of years time for another wedding too - Just proves its such a lovely spot it is to tie the knot! We also headed along to just outside Falkirk to see the Falkirk wheel. It's basically a fancy bit of construction that enables boats to travel up the canal. The distance between the levels is greater than normal so you require something a bit more elaborate than your standard canal lock! This boat lift cost 18 million to build! If you google images of the Wheel it looks like some fancy futuristic runway, seriously google, it's quite impressive.While we were there we decided to go on a little trip on the wheel just to see what the fuss was all about. It cost just under £9 per adult. We were rather toasty traveling on the little boat considering it was like sitting in a Greenhouse! But then glass ceilings and large windows enabled us to take in some of the scenery when we were higher. Totally grateful for the nice weather though (even though there was a sprinkling of rain at one point) It called for a cheeky Ice cream before we left... £2.50 for a small cone and a flake! - Where are the 99p ice creams gone!? 

The rest of our time was spent catching up with family and taking in some of the sights around helensburgh. All in all a pretty packed and enjoyable weekend up in bonnie Scotland! Have you ever been? 

Much love, 
3

Type 'Makeup Collection' into youtube and you'll come across a multitude of videos from beauty lovers showcasing the delights of their vanity tables. The majority of these videos include vast amounts of products, more than one could ever use up in their lifetime. Back in the day, I would be envious of these girls, purchasing products in a variety of shades to build up the numbers. Nowadays however, I have realised that it's just a tad unnecessary & it's much better to have a smaller selection of products that will actually get used rather than a huge assortment of products that often get neglected. 

My makeup - with the exception of a couple of eyeshadow palettes is now all housed in this little set up pictured above. Considering it took up the entirety of the Ikea Malm dresser drawer before, I would say I've done pretty well to condense it down. It was a pretty easy process in the end, but does take some time. Something to bare in mind when you start it - especially if your current collection is above the average! Something to get your teeth stuck into on a Sunday perhaps. 

So how did I do it I hear you cry? Well lets explain. 

1. First, get everything out. I mean everything. Tip it all out on the floor, on the table, on your bed wherever suits you. Seeing that pile of makeup in front of you gives you that motivation to sort and organise it all - we've all been there when tidying organising... stuff is still on the bed and you want to sleep. This will ensure you get the job done! Once you've done that you will need to separate it all into different categories. Blush, Base, Bronze etc. This will make it easier for you to sort through. Taking one category at a time. 

2. Within each category start by getting rid of the expired products. Unless you are exceptionally good at product rotation I would suspect that there may be a couple of things that need to be thrown away. For advice on how long you should keep your products, check out this blog post as a guide. 


3. Once you've got rid of the expired products, it's time to evaluate what you have left & get ruthless. Look at your products and decide what you really use. If there are eyeshadows you dont tend to reach for anymore or lipsticks you wore once before deciding the colour wasnt for you sat there all neglected then get rid. Ask friends or family if they would like them. My sister is often pleased to see me turn up at the house with a bag full of unwanted makeup goodies! If you have barely used products or some that are still in their packaging look into donating them to a local womens shelter. Give and Makeup is a popular choice among bloggers. 

4. By now you should have condensed your collection down a bit. Maybe by lots, maybe by a little. Either way its a good start to get you on track. When it comes to re organising and putting what you have left away you can either put it back in the storage solution you previously used or try something different. In my case I picked up this cute drawer set from TKMaxx. It is similar in style to these drawers avaliable at Ikea, so if you like the idea of them you could always try there! By having less space avaliable for the products it helped me be more strict with myself when it came to sorting. Each drawer has just enough room for my makeup items. Maybe with a little room for the additional product or two. 

5. To keep on top of my collection and ensure that it doesnt get out of hand again I have taken on the mantra of one in one out, which I first heard Vivianna mention in one of her posts or videos! There a few products I do this with anyway - Concealers & mascaras but now I implement it with my other products too. Sometimes having less choice when it comes to your makeup makes it easier too! 

Have you tried condensing your makeup collection down. What are your tips and tricks?

Much love 
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