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’?


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.

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 @

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 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?


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?


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.

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