Friday, 30 December 2016

16 Things That Made Me Happy in 2016

So around this time of year I always see several statuses along the lines of “oh my god, 2016 was such a shit year, thank god this years over, bring on a new year”. And while admittedly some people do have shit years and have good reason for wanting to put them in the past, most people are just being melodramatic and negative and forgetting all of the good and fun things that happened to them. A year is a long time, not all of it is bad. So in the spirit of positivity here are 16 things that made me happy in 2016…


1. New Years in Dublin

Counting down to new years day in an underground pub in Dublin with some of my favourite people around me was a good way to kick start the new year. 

2. Leaving Europe for the first time

I was so excited to leave Europe for the first time ever! Can’t believe it’s taken me so long to. Which leads me to my next point…

3. Visiting New York

My first trip out of Europe was to New York. I got to do so many fun things there including watching basketball, going to the top of the Empire State Building and visiting the Natural History Museum.




4. Completing my first marathon

After months of gruelling training I finally crossed that finish line. I don’t know what made me more happy, crossing the line or realising I didn’t have to do four runs the next week.

5. Dublin…again

I loved it so much the first time that I found myself a few months later with friends from Uni. It was a fun packed weekend with lots of good food and alcohol.

6. Fudge & Brownie

No, not the food. Although that has made me happy too. This year I got two new adorable chocolate european polecat ferrets. Don’t let their cute exterior fool you, they’re trouble makers on the inside.



7. Rooftop Cinema

I’ve been wanting to try an outdoor cinema since…well probably since I was a little girl watching can American movie where they all seem to do it. This year I went to the top of the Bussey Building in London and watched True Romance (a film that’s not as romantic as it sounds).

8. Watching Matilda on the West End

This was an incredible show. The stage was amazing, the actors incredible and the script was hilarious. And I just loved watching something on the west end, then roaming off around London afterwards.

9. Exciting blogging opportunities

I’m not talking about Zoella exciting (maybe next year), but it was nice to see people noticing my blog this year.

10. Brighton

I have been wanting to go to Brighton for years so I finally planned a trip there over summer. It’s a beautiful and colourful city.


11. Presenting in front of people

I NEVER thought I would be able to present in front of people. This year I have done it more times than I would have liked to, in front of up to 25-30 people. I am so glad to have been made to do this, it has pushed out of my comfort zone and given me a confidence boost.

12. Leaving Europe for the second time

I never left Europe before now but was lucky enough to do it twice in 2016! My second trip was to Cuba, which as we all know is potentially about to turn into a tourist paradise. So it was good to see the untouched version, where the majority of people spoke Spanish instead of English.

13. Swimming with dolphins

Whilst in Cuba I booked on a trip which involved swimming with dolphins. So the dolphins were in an enclosure in the sea. Their enclosure was made with low metal gates, low enough for the dolphins to jump over. Which apparently these dolphins regularly do. But they always come back, as the owner says “of course they come back, we have the good fish”.

14. Moving to Didsbury

I have been wanting to move to Didsbury for ages. It’s a beautiful village in south manchester, full of charming restaurants and bars. My old flat was near nothing, so it’s a refreshing change to have so many things within a 5 minute walk.



15. Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them

The wizarding world of Harry Potter is back in my life and I could not be happier. I went into the film with low expectations, could anything compare to my beloved Harry Potter? But this film delivered, I am so excited to watch the rest.

16. New Year in Amsterdam


As this goes live I am currently somewhere in Amsterdam, where I will be spending New Years Eve. This is also one of my favourite cities, I feel at home here. 

What things have made you happy in 2016?
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Thursday, 22 December 2016

Gift Wrapping from Hobbycraft

I’m more of a Jedward than Adele when it comes to wrapping gifts. Usually my presents look like they were wrapped by a drunk 5 year old on a particularly rocky ferry journey. After years of this being the case I have decided to put a little more effort into wrapping my gifts this year. One look I really like is the classic brown-paper-tied-with-string look. Simple yet elegant. And minimal effort too, which is mucho important.


So I got all of my gift wrapping essentials from (drum roll)……Hobbycraft. Which you may have guessed if you read the title. I have never thought about going to Hobbycraft for gift wrapping before but I was searching online for brown paper wrapping and they popped up. Really glad I found them, their wrapping paper is so cheap and good quality. I bought two rolls at £2 each but I think I’m just going to need the one. I’ve almost finished wrapping my prezzies already and still got quite a bit left. I also bought some metallic twine roll at £1 each. I actually wanted some red and green twine but they’d already sold out *sad face*. The black and gold twine has grown on me and I bought some black tags with brown twine to go with it, you get 20 for £2. Although I forgot to pick up a silver pen to write peoples names on and I only have a black pen d’oh.


Are you a fan of the born paper and string look? How have you wrapped your prezzies this year?
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Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Christmas Decorations

One of my favourites parts of Christmas is decorating the house and the tree. I always forget how much fun it is until I do it, then I start to feel like a little kid again. Last  year I found so many things that I liked but this year I was a bit underwhelmed with what the shops had to offer. I don’t know if I was being too picky, I don’t think I was. But it was a real struggle to actually find things I liked. However, I’m not one to give up easy so I kept on searching until I found something. 


Poundland


Last year when I went to my dads he had loads of decorations up and near enough every time I asked where he got something the answer was “Poundland”. So this year I made sure I popped in. And actually I think I found most of the things I liked from there, and everything a pound!I got a slate sign that says ‘Merry Christmas’ and has a red and green chequered bow to hang with. I also got a sign that has three hearts dangling from brown string, saying ‘Winter Wishes and Mistle Toe Kisses’, which is a bit soppy but I really like the look. Then the last thing I picked up was a house shaped tea light holder. I really like these and have wanted one for a while.


Next


Next usually hits the nail on the head when it comes to Christmas decorations, and homeware in general actually. Last year their baubles had sold out before I could get any, I was so sad. So I made sure I got in there early this year. You get 50 pieces to hang up and the colour theme is silver and red, which I wan’t too sure about at first but I really like now. Quite simplistic and traditional. I also picked up a mini christmas tree covered in white snow. There’s a few sizes available, or at least i definitely saw a large version. But my favourite thing I picked up was the festive spiced candle. I smelt this and could not put it back down, it smells SO BLOODY GOOD! And the packaging is so cute, again white a traditional white and red theme. There’s a striped ribbon around the top with a mini christmas tree attached at the bow.


So that’s some of the new decorations I picked up this year. As I said I was a little underwhelmed with the selection this year but I’m glad I got the baubles in time! What new decorations did you pick up this year?
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Monday, 12 December 2016

Gift Guide For Him

I have just posted a gift guide for her. To help with the gift guide for him I have roped in the boyfriend. All of these products were found and described by him. All I asked was that he found product ranging from low to high price. Hope you find this useful, just tap the links if you see anything you like…




Forget wally hes in a galaxy far far away, lets find Chewbacca and friends in different planets across the galaxy.



Guys despite denying it actually do like having a good shaver. Is his falling apart or do you hear him moaning about it? Maybe its time you make the decision for him and upgrade.



SOMETHING FUN! The model remote control car! Let him have hours of fun while you get to enjoy Netflix.



Leather straps are more fashionable, showing a more classic look.



This game looks incredible. It’s set in the past unlike many of the other games out there and I’ve heard nothing but goods things about it.



One of the best Bluetooth speakers on the market.



For those who like to exercise or want to start their fitness journey, this is a great choice. PC world is the cheapest on the market!

A gift guide for men written by a man. Probably a lot more useful than anything I could write myself! Hope you found something. 
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Gift Guide For Her

Looking for a present for that special someone? Or maybe you’re looking for a friend? Confused with what to get for your secret santa? Then hopefully my gift guide for her will help. I’ve tried to include a range of prices, from under a £10 to over £100. Whatever the budget, there’s something for everyone! If you like anything just tap the links.





I don’t know about you but my house is overflowing with cushions and pillows. So I’ve started buying just the cases instead. This sausage dog pair is quirky and adorable.




You can’t go wrong with a cute little cat purse. This is a black leather looking pouch with sort of 3D style ears sticking out the top. Inside is just as cute with a pink zip lining and black polkadots.





I’m a self-proclaimed pyjama addict. I love lounge wear. Why would you be anything but comfortable when you’re relaxing at home. The print on this is amazing, so bright and colourful.




Everybody needs a notebook for something. These ones have a pretty design in vibrant colours and they’re fair trade! At £3.95 they’re also a bargain!




Anything rose gold is a winner at the moment, it’s the colour of the year. They’re are a little (a lot) on the pricey side but if you’re working with a HUGE budget then these are perfect!




What girl doesn’t want a Soap and Glory box set for any occasion? This is one of my favourites, I really want it myself but I’ve already seem to have bought every item individually. You’ve got shower gel, body butter, hand cream and more.




As well as loving rose gold, I’m also loving grey at the moment. My house and wardrobe are slowly being taken over by the colour. This watch is so simple yet gorgeous.




Books are a safe choice, especially if they’re a bookworm. I love David Nicholls’ books. His characters are so incredibly relatable it’s like you’re reading about people you already know. I recently read this one and struggled to put it down.




Just because Christmas day will be coming and going quickly, doesn’t mean the cold will be. Oversized jumpers are perfect to keep her warm during these chilly days. this one looks super cosy.


I hope you found something useful here! What’s on your wish list this Christmas? 
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Sunday, 11 December 2016

I'm Dreaming Of A Lush Christmas


I’m dreaming of a white Christmas. Well, it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen. So instead I’m going to dream of a Lush Christmas. The other day I popped into Lush on the hunt for some of their festive themed products. I only planned on picking up a couple of items but I couldn’t resist picking up a couple more (oops).

The first thing I just had to get was ‘The Magic of Christmas Bubble’ bar (£5.95). I think I first saw this one, maybe two years ago in a Zoella Lush Haul. It’s SO pretty and magical. It gold and super sparkly. Then to top it off there a little red bow at the bottom of the star with a bell on!What I really like about this one is it’s a reusable bar, so you can just pop it under the tap when you’re running the bath then leave on the side (or wherever you want to, there’s no rules for this part) then reuse it another day.


So for a while all I ever got from Lush was the bath bombs. I’ve started to become a bit more adventurous in the past year, branching out into their other products. So when I went to the store this time I purposely tried to look for Christmas themed products that weren’t bath bombs. And Lush did not disappoint. So one thing I got was the ‘Snowman’ shower jelly (£3.95). I’m really excited to try this out. According to the label it’s better to pop it into the freezer first for “an extra fresh feeling”. 

The next non bath bomb item I picked up was the ‘Santa’ fun. I’ve had one of these products before from a gift set I got last year. You make whatever shapes you want out of them before picking a small piece off and then use as  shower gel. Or you can pop it under running water too. They had an elf on of these as well, but I really liked the santa colours. 


Finally, the last item i picked up was another re-usable bubble bar. I was stood in the shop trying to decide between the two as I felt it was too excessive to get both. But I’ve wanted the star one for ages and this one is a fricking dinosaur in a santa hat! How are you meant to choose just one? So this little guys name is ‘Santasaurus’ bubble bar (£5.95). The boyfriend loves dinosaurs so he’ll get some us out of this one as well. 

They were my favourite picks from the festive themed Lush products. There were a few more I had my eye on, such as the snow fairy bubble bath/shower gel. Alas, I couldn’t get them all. Have you seen any you like this year? What’s your favourite?


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Friday, 9 December 2016

Underrated Christmas Films

Everybody loves Elf, Home Alone is a classic and the Nightmare Before Christmas is pretty awesome. It’s a Wonderful Life is a must-see and Love Actually will give you all the feels. But what about the other Christmas films? There’s so many out there but all I seem to hear about are the bigs dogs. What about the Daschunds of the Christmas film world. Here are three of my favourite…



The Last Holiday


Queen Latifah at her finest. So this film is basically about a woman (Queen Latifah) who works for a retail store but is not reaping the benefits from her hard work. She finds out she has mere weeks left to live, 3 weeks in fact, so she quits her job, cashes in all her bongs and savings then flies away to Europe on her dream vacation. This film is great because you get to vicariously live through her. Who hasn’t dreamed about doing this? And she doesn’t do it half-heartedly. She lives the life of luxury and makes some pretty fancy friends. It’s a feel-good, some-scenes-are-impossible-but-you-love-it-anyway kinda film. And it’s on Netflix!



Jack Frost


This was one of my favourite Christmas movies growing up. The dads a dreamy musician who is trying to make it home in time for Christmas when he dies in a car crash. All of the major feels right. Fast forward a year and his young son makes a snow man, play his dads harmonica and voila! The snowman outside is embodied with his dads spirit. If that’s not a perfect story line I don’t know what i!



The Family Man


I had to slip a cheeky Nicolas Cage film in here too. I think this may be one of those films you shouldn’t admit to liking but I really like it. So Nicolas Cage is some big-shot person at whatever job he does, something in business I think. He disarms a gunman in a grocery store then some way or another he wakes up in bed with his ex-love of his life. They have a whole family together and don’t have that much spare money to throw around. He’s told this is how his life would have ended up if he stayed with her. Let the good times begin….

I really love watching cheesy Christmas films. The amount of TV only films I have watched (channel 5 is a good one for these) is embarrassingly high. Which ones would recommend watching?


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Thursday, 8 December 2016

Christmas Jumpers

One of my favourite things about Christmas time is the winter fashion. Wrapping up warm in oversized jumpers, blanket scarves and chunky socks is my idea of heaven. Not only is it all super cosy but it is also oh so much more forgiving than summer fashion. We’re in December now and getting ever closer to Christmas, so it’s time to throw on an adorable or so-ugly-it’s-amazing festive jumper. I have done a little digging around on the internet so you don’t have to! Here are a few of my favourites.


So this one is quite pretty with the red/pink colours and the love hearts and candy cane pattern. It's very girly and more one I would wear in public, to the office or out to the shops. Not that I wouldn't wear some of the garish ones outside but this is a bit more subtle than others. And it's really cute.


This is another one I would wear out and about in public. It's subtle but still very Christmasy. The gingerbread men and women are adorable with their little hats and scarves. 


This one’s quite simplistic with a classic red and white pattern. I'm actually going with a red and white theme for the Christmas tree this year. Old school style. And at just £15 this one is such a bargain, it’d be silly not to!


Ok so I saw this and just had to include it. It’s punny and it has John Snow on. Puns and John Snow, do you need anything else is your life? No. No you do not.




5Tesco Value Funny Jumper (Etsy £19.99)

Okay so I was at the pub recently and someone walked in wearing this. I don't know why it tickled me so much but it did. If you want to go towards the funny side when choosing a jumper this year, definitely get this one!


So they’re just a few I have found. There’s so many goods jumpers out there, how are you meant to choose just the one? Have you found any goods ones this year?
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Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Terry's Chocolate Orange Brownies

I’ve been meaning to try out this recipe for ages. Chocolate and orange go together like cheese and crackers. I don’t know if these can technically be considered as festive. Saying that I did actually see a pack of orange brownies in a festive wrapper so maybe they are. Either way I baked them. The recipe I got was from BBC Good Food - their recipes are so simple and easy. Here is the link.


What You’ll Need

200g butter, chopped
200g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
zest of 1 large orange
4 large eggs
350g caster sugar
100g plain flour
50g cocoa powder
100g dark chocolate orange, roughly chopped
Terry's Chocolate Orange

What To Do

1. Heat the Oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 ad line a 24 by 20cm tin with baking parchment
2. Put the butter and the dark chocolate into a non stick pan and heat on a low heat, stirring until smooth. Then leave it to cool
3. Whisks the eggs and sugar together with an electric whisk until the mixture pales and doubles in volume, leaving a trail behind when you lift the beaters
4. Stir in the flour and cocoa, then add the orange chocolate
5. Pour the mixture into the lined tin and bake for 35 mins. 
6. Once baked allow it to cool for a few hour before you cut it into squares
7. Put some broken pieces of Terry’s chocolate orange on top of the brownies



This was a simple, quick and easy recipe. Oh, and it tastes really yummy too. Hope you enjoy it! What have you been baking lately?
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