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.

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!


Friday, 8 June 2018

Birthday Haul 2018

Another year has passed and I am another year older. I had an amazing birthday and cannot believe it's all over and I am another year close to the big 3-0! I received some lovely presents and cards and thank everyone who bought me something or wished me a Happy Birthday. These posts shouldn't need a disclaimer but you know the drill. I am not bragging, I have not named who has got me each thing and I have not featured every item. I hope this post gives you some good ideas for gifts for your friends and family. Lets get to it!

First I thought I would share some of the running gifts I received. I have started getting into running this year and it is starting to become a hobby that I enjoy and I never thought I would enjoy exercise! I received so many handy presents such as running socks, a towel, belt, magnets to hold race numbers and lots more goodies. I also received a 6 month subscription to a running magazine which I have really been enjoying and getting lots of tips from. I also got a couple of pairs of trainers which aren't for running but fit well in this photo. Using my birthday money I treated myself to some proper running shoes and got my gait analysed so I can't wait to break them in.

I got quite a few bits for the house including a new clock for the living room which I had been eyeing up. I just need to get James to hang it on the wall! I also received some mixing bowls which I was so pleased with as I had been making cakes in a heart shaped bowl which was just impossible to stir, so these round ones are going to change my life. I also received some candles, my fave! I also love the drinking glasses I got and cat themed mug!

Clearly my friends and family know me well as they got me some edible goodies and prossecco. I am yet to try the salted caramel kettles although I am very intrigued! I also got some of my favourite sweets, fudge and truffles. I feel spoilt for choice. Sorry Slimming World! One of my friends also knows I love food and got me a restaurant choice voucher so I cannot wait to spend it on a nice meal.

Some other gifts I received include socks, dvds, a camera bag and strap and some smellies. All of which I am really chuffed with. The DVD came from my cat, he thought I might like to watch it. I also got a chair for the garden so I can sit outside in the sunshine! I look forward to attempting the DIY cactus too!

I was lucky enough to receive some books too including a few recipe books. I can't wait to try some of the salted caramel recipes, using my new bowls of course! 

Last but not least, I received the second edition of the Christie Love's Box, cleverly put together by Kim. If you've seen my Christmas Gift Haul you will know I received Box 1 last year and it was filled with goodies. This year was no different and I was really impressed with the contents. You will have to wait until my next post to see what is inside though, as I think it deserves its own post! 

Let me know if you've had a birthday recently, and what goodies you received?


Sunday, 3 June 2018

Twenty Eight

It’s my birthday today and I just wanted to reflect on a few things. I’ve officially lived an entire decade as an adult. That’s over 10 years of being able to drink and drive (not at the same time of course!) I cannot believe where the last 10 years have gone, and the fact that in another 10 years I will nearly be 40. Where does time go?!

I still remember my 18th birthday quite well. I remember going into the city to buy an 18 DVD, and I didn’t even get asked for ID. I had pizza hut, but I’m not sure I had any alcoholic drinks. I was in sixth form at the time and earned a part time wage, yet seemed to have so much more money than I do now – funny that! My weekends when I turned 18 were all about going to The Waterfront, Norwegian Blues and Lloyds. It was the place to be at the time. I remember having a house party and then spending a lot of time at other house parties as not quite everyone was 18. It was all about getting insanely drunk on cheap alcopops and then walking home or crashing out on a sofa. Those days seem like a lifetime ago. We’ve all grown up, moved on. We have our own lives and pets and homes. People are married, some with children and we no longer spend all of our money on VKs and sweet and sour chicken balls (most of the time).

I went out a lot during my 18th year. I dread to think how much money I spent on alcohol, taxis, gig tickets and cheesy chips. I went to gig after gig at the UEA, every week including bands like Go:Audio, Funeral for a Friend, Enter Shikari and The Gallows all in 2008. I got my first car, a Peugeot 106 and have had 4 more cars since.

28 for me is the age I get married. The year I become a wife. I leave behind 27 and 2007, the year I  went to New York, got engaged and started to make my house a home. An amazing year with its highs and extreme lows. I think 28 will top 27, I don’t know why – I can just feel it. I have big things planned for this year, and I can’t wait to fully enjoy the remaining years of my 20’s. The best days are still to come.

Here’s to 28! Cheers.


Tuesday, 8 May 2018

My Purrfect Gift Box - 2 Year Anniversary!*

Can you believe it has been 2 years since I first reviewed My Purrfect Gift Box on my blog? Me neither! When I was contacted to review a box as a little Birthday/Anniversary review, I jumped at the chance. I (and Biscuit) used to love receiving this box each month and if it wasn't for the fact we are saving every spare penny for our wedding, I would have carried on with my subscription.

The best thing about this box is you don't even need to have a cat to sign up, as the cat treats are an additional option so purely being a cat lover is enough! This month's box had a Spring Theme and was packed with loads of amazing items.

The first item I opened was this gorgeous necklace, designed by USA artist Krista Smith.  The folk inspired cat art is unique and this cat with flowers design is perfect for Spring. I love the simple black cord too, it adds a touch of class to any outfit and goes with everything. She has a lot of other art and cat prints over on her etsy and I have my eye on some of the ginger cat items. This necklace retails at £18.99.

You cam never have too many coasters and I adore these spring inspired floral cat designed ones by Kim Haskin retailing at £16.99. I love how cute and fluffy the cats look and each cat has a name too which I think is adorable! These coasters are good quality and will brighten up my room a treat. She is based in the UK but ships internationally if you are interested in seeing more of her work.

I love these watercolour stickers from Thailand artist Pennapa Yodhor. The spring colours compliment each other well and I think they will really brighten up my planner this month. These retail at £4.50 and can be found on etsy amongst lots of other designs.

This ceramic kitty planter is the ideal addition to my home as a cat and plant lover. The planter is ideal for a succulent or small flower, and I can't wait to look for something permanent to sit inside of it. It even comes with its own drip tray to keep surfaces clean and tidy. I really love it and think other cat lovers will too. This retails for £12.99.

I have been looking for a little pocket mirror for my makeup bag and this generous sized one featuring Ella Goodwin's Flower Antlers Kitty illustration is perfect for Spring and beyond. This retails at £5.50, you can check out her website here.

The first cat themed item in the box was this handmade 'fiori' (flowers in Italian) toy made by AmiCatToys. I can see why the flowers were chosen for this box as it fits in with the Spring theme perfectly. This colourful toy comes complete with a few jangly bits which immediately got Biscuit's attention.

The second cat item was VitaKraft's cat grass kit. It's a premium seed mix which is ready prepared, a bit like cress. I had to punch some holes into it, add the seeds, mix the soil and then add water. It takes about 3-4 days to start sprouting and I will let you know over on Instagram how I get on with it! It is quite a good thing to have as it can encourage cats to help cough up their hairballs, and I know my fluffy cat gets a lot of those!

I love how adorable this catnip cupcake is from etsy shop Little Miss Delicious. They have a lot of cute food themed jewellery, accessories and home decor that looks good enough to eat. I seriously love the pizza themed goodies they do. Biscuit is sure to enjoy this, and it looks adorable in my home. The cat gifts retail at £16.99 for all three products.

Head over to My Purrfect Gift Box for more information or to see previous boxes. This box including cat goodies is only £39.95 including UK delivery, but if you son't have a cat and would rather skip those items it's just £31.95! You can also make one time purchases which make great gifts. What are you waiting for?

*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.


Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Finding a Lump - Shine Night Walk Marathon 2018

This year I am going to be taking part in the Shine Night Walk Marathon in aid of Cancer Research UK. I have chosen the cause to be Breast Cancer. If you would like to donate to this worthy cause, please click here. Thank you.

I thought I would write this post about an experience that I had in the hope that it will help to reassure others when in the same situation. It is also one of the reasons that I am taking part in the Shine Night Walk Marathon. I did the 5k race for life a couple of years ago and it was such an empowering experience and really inspiring day. This year I thought I would push myself and do the 10k as well as the muddy version, all in the same weekend. Am I mad?! My friend Astrid then told me about the Shine Night Walk - an inspiring event and something amazing to train for and raise money for. I am not an expert in this matter, this is purely an account of what happened to me and how I felt. I hope if you are going through something similar that you know you’re not alone.

It started off a while ago now when I started to read a blog by a girl who went to my school. She is younger than me and was diagnosed with breast cancer and I found her blog posts really hard hitting and interesting to see her going on her journey and being so strong and brave. She brought awareness to myself about how important it is to regularly check your breasts and since her blog went live I have made an extra effort to check myself. I realised it can happen at any age. I thank her for bringing this awareness to the younger generation.

I noticed a dull ache in my left breast so decided to check myself. I couldn’t find anything so forgot about it but it was playing on my mind. I then got my partner to check and he couldn’t feel anything out of the ordinary. I then waited a few more days and had another feel and finally I found a solid lump. As you can imagine, this was terrifying. I cried and as it was just before Christmas I thought I would wait until after to stop me worrying. Of course the worry didn’t subside so the next day I booked an appointment with the Nurse Practitioner.

I had been crying all morning and was so worried so I took my mum to the appointment with me for some support. James did offer to come but I didn’t want to mess up his work schedule just for me. We walked into the nurses office and she was lovely. She asked a few questions about the history of my family and luckily mum was there to answer them for me. Having had breast cancer herself, this obviously increased the risk for me. The nurse pulled a curtain around a section of the room and I undressed my top half. She told me to lay down on the bed and point out where I found the lump. She had a feel around and soon found the lump I had mentioned, but on inspection she did say that I generally had quite nodular breasts anyway so it could just be how they are. She couldn’t feel any other areas of concern. I told her this lump was new which is why it worried me and at the end of my visit she had referred me to the hospital to see a specialist. I was told my appointment would be in the next 2 weeks and I had hoped it wouldn’t clash with any Christmas plans. I awaited my phone call.

In the days leading up to my phone call I found myself obsessing over the lump and constantly feeling it to make sure it was there which then made it painful. There were times when I thought it had disappeared and then I would find it again. My GP appointment was on the Friday, my phone call came on Tuesday the following week and I was booked in for my appointment on the Thursday. All in all, 6 days. Hats off to the NHS as I thought that was brilliant, especially to get me in before Christmas.

When I arrived on the day of my appointment I got parked up and made my way to the right area. I had my mum with me and she knew where we were going. I checked in and was given a sheet of questions to fill out before I saw the doctor. Before I even had a chance to finish the questionnaire, I was called through. I had to take off my upper clothing and put on a fetching gown. My mum came in with me and sat on the other side of the curtain. I saw a man called Dr Hussien (I think). He asked me where the problem area was and got me to lie down. He examined both of the breasts but couldn’t find anything that stood out to him. He could feel the lump I had pointed out but said it felt normal to him, but would refer me to ultrasound to put my mind at ease.

I had to go back to reception and they then told me where to go next. I went down the hall and checked in at another reception and was told to wait. I had no idea how long I would be here, but another lady went up to the desk and said “I’ve been waiting for over an hour, how long will it be?” and the receptionist said that it was quite normal and some have waited up to 3 hours. In the end it was about an hour and a half later until I was seen for the ultrasound. A female led me through, this time I left mum in the waiting room, and told me to take off my upper clothes again and cover myself with a towel and lay on the bed which I did. A male then entered the room and he  asked me to point out the area and cross referred this with the doctors notes. He applied some gel and ran the ultrasound over my breast where I had found the lump. He kept rolling it around trying to get a good shot and get as deep into the tissues as possible. He then asked me to look at the screen and showed me what normal tissue looked like and said he couldn’t see any areas of concern. All he could see were a couple of tiny cysts which weren’t worth doing anything with. He then left the room and I got dressed and the female gave me a leaflet on breast cysts. She said if I were to feel anything else then to go back, don’t ever assume it is just a cyst if a new lump was to appear.

When I left the ultrasound I had to go back to the original waiting room to speak to the doctor, thankfully this didn’t take too long. He called me in and had examined the photos from the ultrasound. He said that he couldn’t see any areas of concern and it all looked normal to him. He said the cysts were nothing to worry about too. I was so relieved. I walked out and told mum what had happened and both of us felt so much better. We then realised how hungry we were and we went and got lunch.

Thankfully on this occasion everything was fine, and I think the whole process was very fast and efficient. If you ever find anything please get it checked out as it may be nothing, and will put your mind at ease. Even if it is something, you’ve taken the first step in resolving it by visiting your GP. Since then I regularly check myself throughout the month.

I will be completing the Shine Night Walk for all those who unfortunately didn't get the results they hoped for. I hope that any money I can raise will go towards life-saving treatments. Please donate here.


Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Buy Wholefoods Online - Review*

I love using wholefoods and healthy foods but it can be hard to find them in regular supermarkets. When I was contacted by family run & independent wholefoods company called Buy Wholefoods Online I thought it was a fantastic way to get healthy foods delivered directly to your door.

I received some really great products which I have been told are some of the most popular available, each with their own benefits.

When I saw the Maca Powder, I wasn't quite sure what to do with it so had a look online. It has been tipped as the top superfood for 2018 and can be added to smoothies, porridge, granola, shakes and baking. It's such a versatile product and the recommended dose is 1-2 teaspoons a day. It's rich in antioxidants and can boost male fertility. It's excellent value on Buy Wholefoods Online compared to other leading brands.

Alongside the Maca, I received Raw Cacao Powder. This is something I have used before and is becoming increasingly popular. It has an intense deep chocolate flavour, similar to cocoa powder however it has not gone through the same process so retains all of its goodness and flavour. Again this can be added to porridge, smoothies and whatever takes your fancy. I like using it for raw energy bars.

Raw Honey is something that has been growing in popularity and I see it more and more popping up in shops and in healthy recipes. Raw honey can be hard to find but is said to have a much better taste than normal honey which I completely agree with. Raw honey is unfiltered and unpasturised which enables it to keep all of the great health benefits that honey is meant to have. It can also help to counter pollen allergies so I am going to let my fiancé have some of this to see if it helps with his hayfever this year. Another interesting fact is that honey is said to be a natural antibacterial with wound healing effects and has been used to treat burns and wounds! Who'd have thought it.

I love pumpkin seeds and was very happy to see a whole 500g bag of them! They're ideal as a snack as they are rich in protein and full of healthy fats. I like them on top of some nut butter on toast. You can use them in homemade granola and cereal bar recipes too as well as in salads which can add some texture. They are loaded with health benefits and are also said to improve sleep! I can't wait to make a start on these.

Last but not least I received some Spirulina Tablets. I have previously tried the powdered version of this and didn't really like the taste as it has a slight algae flavour so I was pleased that I was sent the tablet form as it's a lot easier to swallow. This has been a famous super-food for a while now and is something that can be taken daily. It has so many benefits including speeding up weight loss. I will let you know how I get on with these.

Overall, I am really happy with my bundle of wholefoods and can't wait to incorporate these into my diet and lifestyle. To purchase these items yourself and many more amazing foods, head to Buy Wholefoods Online.

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

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

WIN a set of Planners - Old English Company*

As a huge stationery lover, I was pleased to find out that it is in fact World Stationery Day on 25th April! In honour of this, Old English Company are running a competition to win one of their gorgeous planners.

The planners come in a range of colours and the competition gives you a chance to win all four! The planners are perfect for jotting down ideas and to-do lists and also make great gifts for friends and family.

Old English Company are a stationery and giftware company based in Stamford, England. Their products also include greeting cards, enamel pins, coasters, art prints and more. All designs have a simple, stylish and fun hand-lettered theme throughout. I also really like the cute range of coasters available.

To be in the chance of winning, head over to the competition page and follow the simple instructions. The winner will be chosen at random on 26th April 2018. Good Luck!

* This is a sponsored post. Please see my Disclaimer for more information, all photos shown in this post are property of the Old English Company.
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