Tuesday, 9 October 2018

My Surprise Hen Party

Well where do I start with this post – I am still in shock! So a couple of weeks ago was my surprise Hen Party. Remember in my Christies Love’s Box review I mentioned that Kim had given me a Save The Date for a blog event in September? Turns out this wasn’t a blog event after all and in fact she had been plotting a hen party for me with some of my friends and family.


The day of the ‘blog event’ arrived and I had packed my camera, purse, phone and all the essentials. I was told the event was overnight so I had an overnight bag and I was also told to bring my passport too but turns out this was all to throw me off! I spent ages picking what to wear in the morning and waited for Kim to pick me up. Usually I wait for Kim in my garden and lock the back door, but this time Kim called ahead and said she needed the loo and to fill up my water bottle so I waited indoors – again, all part of her plan!


When Kim arrived, she told me to come outside. In my mind I was thinking oh god, has she crashed into my car/fence? Ran Biscuit over? Why does she need me to come outside so soon! I’ve barely had time to get my bags! And as I walked out, on my driveway were lots of my friends and family, all wearing matching Bride Tribe Tshirts. They looked fantastic! I was then given my own Tshirt to wear, a veil and a garter. In the front seat of the car was a blow up man too, which I was rather amused by.


We got into 3 cars and drove to a secret location. On the way there Kim mentioned we were running late and my nanny mentioned we had chartered the boat for the day so I then knew we were going on a boat. I assumed it would be one of those little ones you get on the broads, but I was very wrong. As we drove to the location I had to ask who was actually here, because I hadn’t even taken in the faces I had seen and having not given any guestless to Kim I had no idea who had come to celebrate. We got to the location and we were greeted by one of the boat crew. He said to me “ so you’ve never tried water skiing before?” and I started to panic. I thought oh god, I’ve done all my hair and makeup and it will be ruined! Luckily he was joking! We got to the boat and it was massive, not like I expected at all. We all sort of looked at each other and thought where on earth do we sit?! But once we got our lifejackets on and got moving it was really fun and we had great weather.


We played a couple of games on the boat, James my fiancé had answered some questions about me and I had to guess what he had said. We also played a game with underwear in which my guests had drawn a picture on them and I had to describe a funny story that related to it. At around 1pm, we moored up for lunch at The Maltsters at Ranworth and had a meal and some much needed prosecco and shots! After lunch we got back on the boat and headed back again. Chloe even had a go at driving the boat which was funny, then Kim and Daisy helped with getting it back in again.


We then got back into the cars and headed for the final location. A few people went home at this point and the remainder then went back to Kims where she had set out her living room and kitchen with lots of Hen Party décor. There was even a large banner hanging from the house! The kitchen was decorated with balloons, bunting and food. Costessey Cakes had provided a wedding dress made of cupcakes and also some amazing biscuits – including flip flops (an inside joke for me and Kim!). she had even gone to the effort of making sure that all of the food was suitable for coeliacs and was also egg free to cater for everyone who had came back. We had some nibbles and Kim also cooked some pizzas.



I was also presented with a Christie Loves Box – The wedding edition in collaborating with my mum who helped buy some of the items inside.



Back at Kim’s we played some more games, one was called “junk in the trunk” which I was really bad at, and we also played pass the parcel where there was funny forfeits/truths inside. I really enjoyed it. Afterwards, the rest of my guests headed home it was just me and Kim left. We watched a funny film “The First Wives Club” and went to sleep. It had been a really long day, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was so nice to see lots of my friends I hadn’t seen for a while and who made the effort to come out despite having children and busy lives. Thank you to Kim for helping to organise and host such a great event, and for all of the other ladies who came along and some of which contributed but didn’t get a chance to come. It was really nice of them!

The countdown to the wedding is officially on!



SHARE:

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

The Perfect Breakfast - Feat. Clonakilty*

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and one of my favourites. I am never 100% sure on what to have, but I like to start the day with a decent sized breakfast. I was recently contacted and introduced to a brand called Clonakilty who specialise in Ireland's favourite black pudding.


Clonakilty are traditionally known for their black pudding however have recently launched their new Ispini sausages in the UK, perfect for breakfast, dinners and in the warmer months, BBQs. Made using 100% Irish pork, I imagined these would have the same flavours that you get from the butchers and I couldn’t wait to try them.


I rustled up an Irish feast with some of the products I was kindly sent including Irish eggs and bread. I couldn’t miss the chance to have some potatoes on my plate too!



The Clonakilty black pudding is made using a recipe that originated in the town of Clonakilty in the 1880’s. The popularity of the black pudding has spread around the world. With such a great reputation, I couldn’t wait to try the sausages. The brand also have white pudding in their collection of fine foods.


The sausages can be grilled or fried in a shallow pan, I find it easier to fry them as I can constantly move them around. They browned off really well and served with the rest of the breakfast they were an absolute treat. Having never heard about this brand before, I am definitely converted.


What are your breakfast essentials?

*I received these items free of charge. I was not asked to write a review as such, but I genuinely enjoyed the product and wanted to share them. Please see my disclaimer for more information
SHARE:

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Alphabet Dating - B

This month’s date was down to James to organise and although admittedly we did them in a strange order, I looked forward to seeing what the day would bring. We started off by going to a Birthday BBQ, completely unplanned but it did fit in well with the ‘B’ theme. It was a lovely day and we ended up leaving after 5pm in the end so I did wonder where James was planning to take me.



We got in the car and away we went. James then told me we were going to Cromer Beach for a walk. We parked up and the sun was low in the sky. It was still a lovely warm summer evening and we walked along the seafront. We hadn’t had any tea so James treated me to some chips (and mushy peas of course!) and we sat and ate them.


We then had a slow wander back to the car whilst the sun set around us and the air started to cool.



I had a really lovely evening and thought it was such a nice idea to head to the Beach after the mad rush and just relax and take in the sea air. I slept a treat that night.


There isn't much more I can really say about this, I think you had to be there to appreciate it. Stay tuned to see what I had in store for date C.


SHARE:

Thursday, 16 August 2018

Alphabet Dating - A

Alphabet dating is something I came across on Instagram recently (I wish I knew who to credit!) and decided to do a bit of research into it. When looking for answers on google, I discovered that is was quite a common thing and something that I thought was a fantastic idea. I broached the idea to James and he was also up for it and thought it sounded like a great thing to do once a month.


Alphabet dating is where as a couple or even a new person you are just starting to date, you choose a ‘date’ beginning with a particular letter. We decided that one month I would choose and arrange a surprise date and then the month after James would choose one. When March began, we decided to start with A and as it was my idea I offered to go first. You could of course do this every other week, bi-monthly or whatever suits your dating pattern.


‘A’ was a really convenient letter for me as I had already pre-planned an Alton Towers trip for James’ birthday. After recently attending Scarefest with Kim and telling James about it, he mentioned he had never been and would love to go. I really wanted to take him for his birthday weekend but found out that it only opened a few days before and I didn’t want it to be insanely busy. I forgot about the whole idea when an email landed in my inbox telling me about the service day, 2 weeks before the official opening. The service day is open to all emergency services and armed forces at a heavily discounted rate and with free parking. Perfect! I booked the tickets there and then. Unfortunately this then got cancelled due to the weather we had so I had to come up with another idea!


I decided to plan something for a couple of weeks later. We couldn’t make it to Alton Towers the replacement weekend as James had work so I thought I would plan our date more locally. The first thing that came to mind was Afternoon Tea, and to stick with the ‘A’ theme I thought we could have it in Aylsham. It was between here and The Assembly House but due to having been to The Assembly House before, I went for Aylsham and booked us into Biddies.


We both had Afternoon Tea and were stuffed by the end of it. I had to take my brownie home with me as the sandwiches and scone had filled me up. It was really nice just to get away and chill out and enjoy our meals.

We did also attend Alton Towers at a rearranged date and had a really nice time so I am incorporating that into the A date too.


The idea of alphabet dating is to encourage you to think outside the box and have fun and try new things with your partner. There are so many options that could suit so many budgets and I am already plotting things for date ‘C’, it could be anything to a coffee and cake to a curry or even a cinema trip! In the meantime I will await next months ‘B’ date which James will be planning. Let me know if you want me to continue sharing these! Do you have any ideas for ‘C’?


SHARE:

Monday, 13 August 2018

Nordgreen Designer Watches*

When it comes to wearing a watch, I usually have my smart watch on but sometimes it is nice to change things up and wear something different. Smart watches all look very similar and I had been on the lookout for a nice watch that stands out from the crowd.

When I was contacted by Nordgreen Watches, I couldn’t wait to see what sort of watches they had available and I was spoiled for choice. They were the exact thing I had been after, something stylish yet affordable.


Nordgreen are a new Scandinavian watch brand born out of Copenhagen, They have partnered with the renowned Jakob Wagner, designer of Bang & Olufsen headsets. They aim to to deliver a minimalistic approach of the city, combined with its ethical values to create beautiful timepieces. This is affirmed by a recent Kickstarter campaign where they raised $250k.

I chose the Philosopher Rose Gold Mesh Watch. It arrived in a beautiful sleek box. It’s always nice to see good quality packaging and I really felt like I was receiving something really special.


One of the things I found interesting about this watch is how to adjust the strap. Having a mesh strap, you can’t just take a few links out to shorten it and I wondered how I would get it to fit. The fantastic thing about the brand Norgreen is they have created YouTube tutorials on how to adjust their watches and once I had watched this it was so simple to do. It also means that it is a watch that you can keep forever as it can be adjusted to you if you change size or shape throughout the years. The straps also have a quick release function so you can interchange different styles and colours with ease meaning this can go with every outfit. It feels really comfortable to wear as well.

Although the watches are not waterproof, they are splash proof and can be worn in the rain. This is always a benefit as you don’t want to have to worry about getting it a bit wet when washing your hands or doing day to day tasks involving water and its reassuring to know you can do this with ease.


For every watch sold, as a customer you will get the chance to give to one of three charitable causes, through their Giving Back Program. I think this is fantastic and so unique. When purchasing your Nordgreen watch you will receive a unique code which you can then register your watch with and choose from 3 causes to donate to which are as follows:

2 months of education to a child in India
2 months of clean watch to a person in central Africa
200sqm of rainforest in Latin America

If you like what you see, head over to Norgreen and check out the beautiful range of watches available. For 10% off your order, use code CHRISTIESLIFESTYLE.

*I received this item free of charge in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not influenced in any way.
SHARE:

Friday, 13 July 2018

Weekly Spending Diary

I saw this idea over on Hannah Gale’s blog and thought it would be a fun one to do, see where I seem to spend most of my money!

Photo taken by Kim @ www.romanovsviews.com

Day One
Today started off fairly normal, I went to work so didn’t spend any money in the morning. On my lunch break I was on the lookout for a new outfit but man did I struggle. I went to so many high street shops and I couldn’t find anything. It’s typical really as soon as you have the money and want to buy an outfit, there isn’t anything! In the end I went to Primark and I got a white top and a pair of heels. I spent £22. In the evening I met my friend Kelly for food/drinks and we went to Copper Beech. I had Cod & Chips and a Pepsi Max, it came to £14.95.
Total = £36.95

Day Two
Work again today and I don’t tend to spend any money whilst I am here as I do bring my own lunch. It all depends if I go wandering at lunch times! Well today I decided to nip out and I realised how bright it was outside so nipped to primark for a pair of £2 sunnies. I then had a BBQ this evening which work contributed towards so my first 3 drinks and food were all free. I bought a colleague a soda and lime for £1.60 and that was all I managed to spend for the night!
Total = £3.60

Day Three
Last day at work for the week and we were all feeling a bit tender today so a couple of us decided to head to Grosvenor Fish Bar www.fshshop.com/ for lunch. I had eaten a million chips last night so decided I needed to avoid those and instead went for cod and mushy peas which cost £4.50. I also needed petrol so I filled the car up and spent £32. We ended up popping into Morrisons to get a few bits as I was meeting my friend for a picnic I thought I’d grab some nibbles and drinks for us, I spent £7.23.
Total = £43.73

Day Four
My day started with Parkrun which is a free weekly timed event and a great way to exercise. I then got home and got ready to meet my friend for our picnic. We met in Wroxham and had a delicious lunch by the river. We then went for a walk around and I ended up popping to Roys and purchasing 2 ceramic cactus vases (that I didn’t really need but were cute) and a cactus coffee cup. I spent £12.02. We then had an ice-cream, I think it was £2.20 off the top of my head. I also then went to the food section of Roys and got some smarties and some skittles for James which totalled £1.60.
Total = £15.82

Day Five
Total = Today I was working so managed to have a spend-free day. It wasn’t until I got home that I spent some money. Knowing that James and I were going to Alton Towers, I purchased a photo digi-pass for us both which cost £30. Other than that I didn’t need to buy anything which was handy.
Total = £30

Day Six
As I said a moment ago today was a trip to Alton Towers. I had already bought the tickets a few months ago and my parking was free so I didn’t need to spend any money there. We had a great time walking around the park and getting on rides. Our photos were paid for so it was nice to collect these after getting off each ride. We decided to stop for lunch and the closest place was a pizza/pasta buffet. It was £13.50 each for all you can eat and drink, I feel like we definitely didn’t get our money’s worth though as we didn’t want to overeat and feel rough on the rides. I paid for both of us so it was £27.00. On the way home I needed to stop for petrol, so we filled up when we saw the nearest petrol station and I spent £28.97. We also decided to have a Mcdonalds on route home which came to £9.16. We got home quite late and the final thing I bought was my entrance fee for Tour De Broads for £18 which a few of us are doing as a team for charity.
Total = £83.13

Day Seven
The final day of recording my spending and I needed to pop out at lunch and get something for our World Cup Themed Buffet. My team at work have Belgium so I picked up some Belgian Chocolate Cookies for my contribution, they came to £1.58. The only other thing I bought was my weekly Tesco shop, which was £50.10, pretty average for me really.
Total = £51.68

Total spend for the week = £264.91.

It was really fun and interesting doing this post but it did really make me think about where I spend money and I think the majority of it has been on food! Maybe I need to put more effort into using my money towards making memories. It’s no wonder I always claim to have none. Not every week is like this, some are quieter than others and I haven’t included any of my standard direct debit payments that have happened to come out this week either as it was payday not long before this week. I might do this challenge again and try to have a cheaper week. Have you ever totalled up your weekly spend?



SHARE:

Thursday, 28 June 2018

30 Before 30

Following on from my post a few weeks ago about turning 28, it got me thinking about things that I want to achieve by the time I am 30. I wanted to think of some attainable goals that are realistic for me and that can be done in the next 2 years, not things like “travel the world” as I need a lot more time and money to add that to the list! Let me know what you think of these goals. Hopefully I will still be blogging in 2020 and can update you with how many of these I actually got ticked off!

Thank you to Kim for taking these photos.


1. Get married – should be pretty easy this one!
2. Go abroad with James, we have never had a holiday abroad with just the 2 of us.
3. Finish decorating the house – Only the bathroom, kitchen, porch, hallway and spare rooms to go!
4. Sort the garden out to a reasonable state.
5. Host a garden party/BBQ – Could even be an idea for my 30th!
6. Try a food challenge  - you know like the giant burgers or eat 1200 chicken nuggets? Yeah I wanna attempt one of those.
7. Run 100 parkruns. I have currently done 27 so only 73 to go in 100 weeks!
8. Run a marathon. At the start of the year I set myself the challenge of running a whole 5km without stopping and have already smashed that and ran 10km! So I would love to take part in a marathon before I am 30. I am doing a walking Marathon in a couple of months so to complete that will be fantastic.
9. Run a half marathon – one step at a time hey!
10. Get a tattoo. I have no idea what, it’s just been so long I feel I need another.
11. See more of the UK. We have some amazing places right on our doorstep, I would love to travel more locally.
12. Read 30 books. I really got into reading last year but have completely slacked off after being put off by an awful book. I want to pick this up again.
13. Host a dinner party.
14. Have Christmas at home.
15. Try something different from my local Chinese. (you know instead of chicken balls, chow mein, chips and sweet and sour sauce)
16. Learn to Salsa. I have been attending Salsa classes recently but have no rhythm and would love to one day find that natural flow.
17. Go glamping.
18. Finally get to my ideal target weight.
19. Win at Bingo (I’ll even take £5, I just want to win!)
20. Treat myself to one really expensive item of clothing or accessory.
21. Visit a cat café.
22. Get a new front door.
23. Own a houseplant that I don’t end up killing after a few months.
24. Get a new pet. Ideally I would like another cat, but will settle for a goldfish if needed to complete the goal.
25. Continue blogging and get back into a consistent schedule.
26. Have an actual skincare routine – any tips?
27. Cut my hair short again – currently I am growing it for the wedding but I want a really good chop after.
28. Learn to make pastry from scratch.
29. Have the living room feel more homely.
30. Write a list of 40 things to do before I am 40!

What's on your bucket list?



SHARE:

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Father's Day Gift Guide*

Father’s Day is fast approaching and I don’t know about you but I always struggle with ideas on what to get my dad. Luckily his birthday was about 6 months ago so I know he will be running out of some essentials so I can get an easy win with those, but what about that main gift? What sort of things do you usually get your dad to show your appreciation?

Give your father the gift of time with the gorgeous range of Daniel Wellington watches from Browns Family Jewellers. Browns Family Jewellers specialise in new and vintage jewellery.



I was very kindly sent the Daniel Wellington Classic Durham watch which retails on their website at just £99.99 at the moment. The dial is a lovely eggshell white which compliments the genuine American leather strap. It’s a watch that can be dressed up or down and a great timepiece that holds your own personal story. My dad will know that the watch came from me and it will hold a nice memory.



Spoil your dad this Father’s Day with a whisky to suit his personality. The premium William Grant & Sons UK portfolio has a unique whisky for every dad. William Grant & Sons Ltd. is an independent family-owned distiller headquartered in the United Kingdom and founded by William Grant in 1887. The company distils some of the world’s leading brands of Scotch Whisky.

My dad is generally a beer lover so I would probably choose the Glenfiddich IPA Experiment Whisky. This is the world’s first single malt Scotch whisky finished in bold and zesty IPA craft beer casks. Presented in a unique box, this would be the perfect treat for your dad. RRP from £44.93 at any major retailer, including Amazon.


What will you be buying your father?

*I received some items in this blog post free of charge in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not influenced in any way.
SHARE:

Monday, 11 June 2018

The Christie Loves Box #2

Well when it comes to Birthday gifts, Kim always goes all out and this year was no exception. If you saw my previous Christie Loves Box post then you will know that the box consisted of a magazine, created by Kim and lots of corresponding goodies.


I can tell a lot of time and effort has gone into creating this gift for me and it was filled with everything I love. Even the magazine was put together so carefully with flatlays and photos of some of the products and how best to use them. I am very thankful for what Kim has made for me so keep reading if you want to find out what was inside.


Firstly I opened the book and flicked through the pages to see what goodies were inside. I immediately spotted this T-shirt and recognised it to be similar to one I had shot Kim in on one of our days out from Tricky Ink. I absolutely love the cactus emblem, it is very me. I am hoping that when me and Kim next meet up I can get her to take some photos of me in it. In the meantime, check out Kim's post on how to style simple tees. Following on from the cactus theme I also received this tea-light holder but Kim's top tip was to use this to store a beauty blender. What an amazing idea I thought! Beauty blenders can get mouldy if they aren't stored properly so this is such a genius way to do it!


This next gift has such a personal touch to it and I really like it and the meaning behind it. The words say "nothing shines brighter than the heart of a good friend". What i love about this is the stone in the middle with a heart. The colours match my living room decor too so I can have this on display and it will remind me of our friendship.


This trinket dish has multiple uses and the magazine suggested it to be a great way to apply foundation, by popping it on the dish instead of on your hand. I never thought to do this before and sometimes I mix lighter and darker shades depending on the time of year and this will save me making a mess. It can easily be cleaned. In the meantime I have been using it to store my engagement ring on the rare occasions I take it off.


This has to be one of favourite gifts, the Dusty Rose Melted Clover by Too Faced. I mean, look at that packaging! It's gorgeous. I also got a couple of other Too Faced goodies to try out. I love the consistency and lasting power of the Too Faced melted matte collection and although I only have 2, I know I will have to purchase more colours! I am loving the colour and it looks great for an every day look. 


As a crazy cat lady, I was pleased to see some cat themed coasters in my box. I love the simplicity of these and being black and white they go perfectly with any decor. I have been dying to use them but needed to take this photo first - blogger problems! 


Now this was a great little extra to find at the bottom of my box. My favourite fudge! Now I bought some of this fudge when I was with Kim but it must have been a good few years ago now, and then Kim bought me some more. I can;t believe she remembered that it was my favourite and as soon as I took this photo I ate the lot! Oops!


The last little surprise in my box inside the magazine was a save the date for September. I am not yet sure what I will be doing but I have marked it on my calendar and look forward to whatever Kim has in store!

Overall this was a really lovely gift box filled with goodies and the magazine that went with it was fantastic. I do wish I had thought of such an idea myself! Thanks again Kim for being such a fab friend and putting all this together for me!


SHARE:
© UK Lifestyle and Beauty Blog. All rights reserved.
BLOGGER TEMPLATE MADE BY pipdig