Monday 30 May 2016

My Favourite Bloggers and Vloggers

I thought I would share with you today some of my favourite bloggers and vloggers. I follow loads of blogs and watch loads of vlogs but if I’ve had a busy week there are always a select few that I will catch up on first before reading or watching anything else. I am sure you will have probably heard of most of these as they’re not exactly obscure but for those of you that haven’t – why not give them a look? You may discover someone new yourself!

Brogan Tate Weekly Vlogs
Brogan is one of the realest youtubers I watch and her weekly vlogs posted every Monday are always worth watching. Brogan isn’t afraid to show the real things that are happening in her life. If she’s had a bad day, she’ll talk about it in her vlog. She doesn’t try to make our her life is 100% perfect which is what keeps her so relatable. When she cries in her vlogs you only have to check the comments to see that her viewers cry with her because it’s easy to become involved. I can relate to her because like me she has a full time job and vlogging/blogging is her hobby.

Helen Anderson Daily Vlogs
I first started watching Helen because my boyfriend who knew I liked watching vlogs suggested her to me. He works with someone in her band and had found out about her that way and I decided to look her up. I find Helen really relatable not only because we live in the same city but I can understand some of the things she is going through. She recently moved house which is something I am going through at the moment and it was really refreshing to see that she was having the same thoughts and feelings as me. It’s also been great to see the process unfold so I know what is to come and makes me really excited! She also has a main channel but my favourite videos are her daily vlogs. They’re just the right length, don’t ramble on and are very ‘real’. I’m secretly hoping we bump into each other on dog walks or something and our kids will go to the same school and we will become friends haha. A girl can dream..

Hannah Gale - Blog and Vlogs
Hannah is another blogger I follow who is reasonably local living in the next county across from me. I have been following her blog for a long time and love it when I receive an email saying she has done a new post. She has a way with words that makes you want to keep reading and when I first found her blog I spent hours reading through the archives (is that weird? Idk). She posts very real posts and writes about topics some of us wouldn’t even dare write about (for example a post about the contraceptive pill) and that’s why I love her blog. She isn’t afraid to say it how it is. Hannah also posts vlogs which I have been enjoying lately and it’s lovely to get to see snippets of someone’s life that you enjoy reading about. Her personal style and homeware options are goals and I will continue to keep reading and watching until I run out of money buying everything she recommends! 

Kim – Romanovs Views
Primarily a blogger, Kim’s progression over on her blog has become inspiring. She hasn’t been blogging that long but the progression in the quality of her photos has grown immensely. I am envious of her flatlays and the composition on her photos has come on leaps and bounds. I love reading her helpful posts, beauty reviews and most of all her monthly lookback posts. She deserves a lot more followers than she has! She’ll be vlogging when she heads to America this summer and I can’t wait to watch those.

Who are your favourite bloggers and vloggers? Leave me their links below - I love finding new people!


Wednesday 25 May 2016

Adagio Teas - Artisan Tea Review*

I am a big tea drinker. I love herbal teas, green teas, English teas and loose leaf teas. I have some firm favourites with the brands I tend to buy but when I got the chance to try Adagio's range of delicious Artisan teas, this knocked a few of them off the top spot. Adagio very kindly send me a variety of their hand picked teas which are sourced directly from origin alongside the most exciting gadget I now own, the aptly named IngenuiTEA teapot. 

The ingenuiTEA teapot is life changing and I’m not exaggerating. This is the best thing I own for brewing loose leaf tea in a hurry. You simply add your leaves to the pot, pour in hot water and let it brew. I didn’t overfill my pot as I didn’t want to then cause a spillage when pouring the tea into a mug but this holds plenty enough for more than one serving.

Once brewed, you place the teapot on top of a standard mug which triggers a valve at the bottom of the teapot to allow your water to flow into the mug. This fits regular mugs that are 9.5cm in diameter. I have a couple of Cath Kidston mugs and these are slightly too large for the device so take that into consideration when choosing which mug to use. The mesh filter in the mug retains the leaves and you are left with a smooth cup of tea with no bits floating in it. The IngenuiTEA is so easy to clean and can even be placed in the dishwasher. This is the best invention ever for drinking delicious tea brewed fresh from tea leaves and costs only £16 for the 470ml pot.

My favourite tea from all the samples I was sent was the cocomint green tea. I love green tea naturally but the addition of mint and chocolate really brings a unique blend of flavours to this tea. The mint makes this tea so refreshing but it’s not over the top and the hint of chocolate isn’t too sweet that it’s overpowering. The mix of flavours is just right. Served with a chocolate digestive makes for the perfect brew in the evening and settled my stomach before bed.

I also received samples of the Earl grey moonlight tea and the Berry blast which are familiar flavours to me and I knew I would also like them. The earl grey moonlight blend is best served black and has delicious creamy vanilla flavours. It’s unlike any earl grey I have had before but still has the traditional citrus undertones. I couldn’t get enough of this tea and I have friends who love traditional earl grey who really liked this when I served it to them and even preferred it to the standard tea. The Berry blast tea is a herbal tea and being a lover of fruit teas I knew I was going to like this one. This herbal tea is caffeine free and is great if you have a sweet tooth. The fruity flavours are all natural and there is no added sugar or sweeteners. The flavours are derived from blackcurrants, cranberries, raspberries elderberries, bilberries, hibiscus flowers and rose hip peels.

I also received two tea samples that I had never come across before, the Green pekoe and the Jasmine yin hao. The green pekoe is as its name states, a green tea. The word ‘pekoe’ refers to the size of the leaf but doesn’t affect the flavour. This green tea comes out quite pale and has a very mellow taste. I think it would be perfect for people just starting to get into green tea as it doesn’t have an overpowering strong flavour that can be off-putting to newcomers of green tea. The Jasmine yin hao tea is deeply perfumed with a strong floral aroma. This is unlike any tea I have ever tried before and I am glad I got to sample it as it’s opened up my eyes to the many tea flavours available out there.

Adagio also sell a range of accessories such as a tea chest to store all of your teas and also glass jars perfect for displaying and storing loose leaves.

Overall I am really impressed by the range of teas available at Adagio. If loose leaf tea isn’t your think you can buy all of the flavours in tea bag form too. If you’re a tea lover I urge you to check Adagio out as there really is something for everyone. Sample sizes are available from £2 in all of the flavours so you can try 10 cups before you commit to a larger order. The more you buy, the cheaper it works out per cup. They also provide free UK delivery on orders over £30, so stock up now!

*I was sent these items free of charge in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not influenced in any way. Please see my disclaimer for more information.

Monday 23 May 2016

May 2016 Glossybox

A couple of weeks ago now I received the latest Glossybox and I was really impressed with this month’s offerings. The boxes were themed on city breaks and had a limited edition design. I received the New York box which I was really happy with and I hope to go to New York next year so I think I received the best box design for me. The box contents contained some great goodies ideal for City Breaks, all I need is a ticket!

Propercorn – Lightly Salted 
The first item I saw on the top of my box was this little 10g packet of Propercorn popcorn. This is gluten free and also suitable for vegans and only contained 43 calories for the small bag. I love the packaging and it was nice to get a little extra treat in our boxes this month. I have tried other flavours from this brand and they’re all delicious.

Hawaiian Tropic Protective Dry Oil – Full Size £13.99
I have been meaning to get myself some sun tan lotion for the summer and Hawaiian Tropic is a brand I see often but have never tried. This lotion has an SPF of 15 so is great for the British ‘summer’ where we don’t get extreme heats but I would want something with a higher SPF if I was going abroad somewhere warm. I absolutely love the scent of this lotion with extracts of coconut and guava, it smells like Malibu and reminds me of summer instantly. This oil applies really well and doesn’t leave your skin feeling shiny or sticky it just sinks in really well.

Hairon – Zero Crease Hair Tie – Full Size £3.99
I received some similar hairtyes to these in a previous Glossybox but they always come in handy and the bright pink colour is great for summer. These are great for reducing damage on your hair and I love wearing them to the gym to get my hair out of my face. This handy 3 pack will keep me going for ages.

Bee Good Youth – Enhancing Plump and Firm Moisturiser – Full Size £23.50
I have previously tried Bee Good products and really like them. This moisturiser aims to plump and smooth your complexion leaving it dewy and glowing. I have been using a small amount of this on my face in the morning and night and I have already noticed a difference. My makeup has been applying smoother especially over areas with fine lines. I am very impressed and will continue to use this alongside other Bee Good items.

Revlon Mascara – Super Length - Full Sized £9.99
A couple of months ago Glossybox gave us the chance to choose one of five Revlon mascaras from their new range. Each one was designed with a different look from volume boosting to lash lengthening. I chose super length and I am extremely happy with my choice. My NARS mascara had started to dry up so this couldn’t have come at a better time. I love the formula of this mascara and it really does work to lengthen the lashes. I actually want to try other ones in this range, has anyone tried to mix and match and use two different ones at once?

Absolute New York – Velvet Lippie – Full Size £4.93
The final item I received in my Glossybox was this matte lipstick in the shade ‘toasted’. I’ll be honest when I first opened my box I thought this was a concealer and when applying this to my lips it looked like one too! This shade is basically the same colour as my skin so for me it really doesn’t work. I would have loved to receive a different shade. I am sure this looks lovely on different skintones.

What did you get in your Glossybox this month? If you’d like to sign up for Glossybox, click here.


Thursday 19 May 2016

Explore the Taste of the Americas - Encona Sauces*

It’s coming up to BBQ season and I can’t think of anything better than eating delicious BBQ foods, especially delicious marinated meats. When I was offered the chance to try a couple of sauces from the Encona range, I knew they would be a summer staple in my food cupboard if they tasted good. The sauces did not disappoint and I can safely say they will be sticking around and making an appearance this summer!

The first sauce I received was the Encona Mexican Smokey Jalapeno Sauce. This is made up of a delicious blend of chillies and spices to give a rich sauce with a smokey flavour. Perfect for adding to Mexican themed meals! This sauce is gluten free and of medium heat. I think it would be perfect for marinating chicken, adding to fahitas or tacos. We served this with some nachos and it gave them the perfect kick teamed with the crunch of the tortilla chips. This would also really compliment fish dishes to give them that extra bit of flavour.

Encona sell a range of authentic, versatile, hot and spicy sauces from around the world. With over 20 different sauces and marinades there is something for everyone with flavours from across the world. With heat levels ranging from mild to extra hot there is something for all tastes. You can use the sauces for dipping, marinades, stir fries and salad dressings. They are incredibly versatile and there are so many different flavour combinations you can come up with.

The next sauce I tried was the Encona Brazilian BBQ Sauce which is also a great marinade for all fish, meats and vegetables. I can imagine brushing this onto chicken and vegetable skewers before barbecuing for a perfect spicy meal. I added a teaspoon of this delicious sweet and spicy sauce to my Boston Baked Bean and Bacon Soup and it gave it the perfect kick and really livened up my lunchtime. This particular flavour is even suitable for vegans.

Next time you’re in your local supermarket why not check out the range of Encona sauces available and cook yourself a feast. Head over to the Encona website for hundreds of recipe ideas for your sauces!

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

Monday 16 May 2016

DIWAH - Customised Jewellery*

I love jewellery and I love finding unique pieces that I haven’t seen any of my friends wearing but in this day and age it’s quite difficult. With the huge presence of social media these days, if a necklace becomes popular everyone will be wearing it. When I heard about the brand DIWAH. I was intrigued. DIWAH provide a design your own jewellery service with hundreds of options available to customise your own exclusive piece of jewellery. Prices start from £40 and there are plenty of different themes and designs available.

Upon going onto the website you can view some of the pre-made design templates and from there you can alter them to suit you or completely start from scratch and create your own piece. I clicked on the start designing button because I wanted something 100% unique to me. There are plenty of options to choose from whether it be a crescent necklace, a necklace with a pendant or the one I chose which was a collar design.

Once you have chosen the template you can then choose your components. There are some preset themes available such as ‘Candy’ which has beautiful pastel coloured beads. I loved the ‘Sea Breeze’ theme which had beautiful ocean colours and I very nearly went for this style but then I saw the ‘Rebel’ theme and I instantly knew that I would be able to fit this to my tastes. You can click on all of the themes and see what beads are in each one and choose your favourite. Once you’ve chosen your components you are ready to start designing your piece.

There are so many parts you can customise from the clasp to the beads and you can even add chain links on certain bits. I’m not one for over the top flashy jewellery so I chose 4 different beads and used the same sequence all away around the necklace which was really easy to do using one of the autofill options in the ‘row’ section of the design page. I absolutely adored the little skull beads and had to have them. I also really liked the silver coloured roses and thought they paired nicely with black beads and pearly beads in-between. When I had finished my necklace I then saved the design and paid for it. I then went to look at it again and realised you could move the beads around to face the right way and some of my skulls were upside down! By then I thought it was too late but DIWAH emailed me and asked if I wanted to make my necklace symmetrical but it was fine if I wanted to leave it. I was over the moon I could change it and I thought that customer service was absolutely excellent and shows that care and attention goes into making each piece.

When my necklace was finished, I was sent some photos of my necklace being made which was great to see. DIWAH kindly sent me the below photos and told me they would be shipping it out soon. It was so nice to see the finished piece but I couldn’t wait to get it in real life. 

My necklace came to £74 in total and for that you get a great unique piece and excellent customer care. It arrived in really good time and was packaged beautifully in a bright pink box with tissue paper and bubble wrap. There was also a personalised card inside the box with a lovely message about how much they loved my design. I am so pleased with the final product – it feels like a really good quality piece and the beads are sturdy.

DIWAH have very kindly given me a discount code to share with you all if you want to make your own piece. Use code CHRISTIESLIFE30 for 30% off your order. I also think it would be a lovely gift idea. You could even make you and your best friend matching necklaces and you’d be the only people to own that design which would make it even more special.

*I was provided with a voucher in order to purchase this necklace in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not influenced in any way.

Thursday 12 May 2016

My Running Essentials

Since I have been training for the Race for Life I have been slowly progressing and my 5k time has come down bit by bit. For someone who was a complete beginner I am really pleased with myself and hope to beat my latest time on Sunday! I thought I would share with you my running essentials. These are the things I cannot be without when I’m training!

I have been doing some last minute interval training sessions to get myself ready for the race! I find interval training very boring but it’s the best way for me to increase my heart rate. When I was contacted by a company that provides running songs that incorporate interval training I really wanted to try them out. As a beginner I went for the 3 minute interval training and the whole album sets you up to include warmups and cooldowns. The songs are upbeat and narrated with a friendly voice which tells you when it’s time for a walk or a jog. I felt motivated listening to these songs and they’re interesting enough to make you want to keep going faster and not stop. I listening to them through my phone with my beats headphones but these songs can also be added to your iPod if you buy the album on iTunes.

If you have Spotify you can listen to the 3 minute interval training here, or the 4 minute here or pyramid interval training here. Unless you have premium membership you can only listen to these on ‘shuffle’ which means they are in the wrong order so I’d recommend only listening in if you have a premium Spotify account.

These songs are also available to download on Google Play, or Amazon.  Check them out on Twitter.

Workout Clothes
I cannot workout without the correct attire. Getting a new gym outfit motivates me to want to go out! I wear a variation of tshirts and leggings but my essentials stay the same. I always wear a sports bra and mine came from H&M and is really comfy. I also always wear my Nike trainers, although they have seen better days and I am in need of a new pair. I usually have a towel to hand too for those hot and sweaty runs.

Water and Snacks
I always bring snacks with me for after my run. I have usually eaten before but after I need to replenish my energy stores so usually go for something like a banana. I recently tried this popcorn too and it's delicious! It is important to stay hydrated when running and I feel a lot more comfortable knowing I have a drink nearby. I always have water with me when I am running and can easily get through a whole bottle during a 5k! This may seem extreme to some but starting out I got a very dry mouth and it helped to have a bottle to hand!

Fitness Accessories 
I always take the essential accessories when going for a run. My apple watch has a running app and is also linked with Strava so I like to use either of those apps to track my run as well as my heart rate. I also own a Fitbit Flex (I bought the floral band from eBay) and this counts my steps for me. I am often challenging work colleagues so going out without this on would be a waste of time with regards to a competition!

I hope you enjoyed this post, what are your running essentials?

*I received no financial reward or incentives for this blog post.

Tuesday 10 May 2016

My Purrfect Gift Box Review*

As you may be aware from my blog, I am a cat lover. I have one bundle of fluff called Biscuit and he loves the camera so it’s always nice when I can involve him in blog posts. I was recently sent the April box from a brand called My Purrfect Gift Box. This subscription box is the first of its kind, a box for cat lovers! You don’t need to have a cat to take part in this box, just loving cats is enough. The box I received is perfect for Spring and each item shows that. The box is made up of items from around the world including some handmade goodies, keep reading to see what I got.

The box I received had some cat treats which is an optional feature when choosing your box. There is something for every budget and you can either opt for a standard or a lite box. With subscriptions starting at only £15.95 per month, you deserve a treat! Firstly there was an extra treat of a cat toy, some feathers, a bell and some beads on a bouncy metal wire. Biscuit absolutely loved this! He’s 11 years old now so not as playful as he used to be but when I got this out he was bouncing around like a kitten!

Each box comes with a welcome card which is really useful as it explain what items you have received and also gives you the retail price if you’re interested. I love receiving cards like this with subscription boxes as its always handy to see where things came from and that way I can look into individual brands if I want to purchase more.

The first item I saw when I opened my box was this adorable Temporary Tattoo from Siideways. This fun design of a cat and flowers is so cute and dainty and the perfect size to transfer onto your wrist or other small area such as an ankle. I haven’t used mine yet as I am saving it for when the time is right but I really love the design which retails at £3.95. Get 10% off using the below code.

The next item which is perfect for the Spring is these adorable plantable seeded papers in the shape of cats. Each cat is infused with seeds and comes complete with handy instructions to grow some beautiful May flowers. I have planted mine already and I can’t wait to watch them grow. I think these make such a nice gift or would even be perfect for wedding favours at a spring themed wedding don’t you think? You can buy these on Etsy in many different designs, shapes and sizes. These retail at £4.50.

I love this framed print from the artist AmyLyn Birhle available from Etsy. This has been signed by the artist on the back and came complete in this white frame. It’s such an apt piece for spring and I love the cat holding an umbrella. The bright colours in this piece are striking and this looks great in any room of the house. Visit the artists website here.

I also received a FreakMEOWt catnip fish which can be bought on Notonthehighstreet for £4 excluding delivery. This contains super strong catnip, Biscuit was going crazy for this fish! We also received some Green&Wilds Cat Niblets in Plaice flavour. These treats are 100% natural and made right here in the UK. Considering these treats don’t look like the most exciting thing in the world I can’t believe how obsessed Biscuit is by these treats! The website says my local vets stocks these so I’ll have to pick up some more when these run out. They are the only treats that Biscuit has climbed up my shelves for!

The umbrella I received fits right in with the April theme and I cannot tell you how happy I was to receive this. My umbrella broke a few months ago and I haven’t had a chance to replace it. I have been caught in the rain too many times to count and thankfully this umbrella arrived right before the start of the April showers – which seem to be extending themselves to May too! I love the modern and colourful design based on an oil painting - it is sure to turn heads. The quality of this umbrella feels strong and sturdy. The material is of good quality and comes with a matching cover for when its folded down. It fits perfectly (or should that be purrfectly) in my handbag and the bright colours mean it’s easy to find. This retails at £15.99.

The final item in my box was another Etsy find. These cute and colourful pack of notecards each come with an envelope and are blank inside so have multiple uses. The cat themed design was illustrated by Valerie Hart. These retail at £9.99 and can be found on Valerie Hart’s website and Etsy shop.

A portion of each of subscription box goes to support UK cat charities, rescue centres and animal shelters.  So while you are giving a gift yourself, know you are giving to the cats that need us across the UK. I really think this box is a great idea and a lovely treat for either yourself or a cat loving friend! Would you consider purchasing this box?

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


Sunday 8 May 2016

Spring Memories With my Fujifilm Instax Mini*

Earlier this year you may recall a blog post I wrote on my Winter Memories. Now that spring is in full swing, I love sprucing up the home to reflect the weather. Daffodils are a great spring addition to the home and I love how they look. I also love having new plants around the house and I recently bought myself a range of cacti. These are really easy to look after and don’t require much watering. Now that the weather is starting to improve, the cacti love sitting on a nice sunny windowsill.

I received the Instax Mini Polaroid Camera a little while ago now and was set a little project from Ocean Loans to showcase some lovely scenery using my camera and bring my home to the fore this Spring. I still love how compact this camera is and how easy it is to pop in your handbag. Photos are even more special when taken with my Instax Mini because you only get one shot and you have to make it extra special.

With Spring we have Easter and we can’t forget about our pets at this time of the year either. I took this photo of Mr. Bunny through a glass window and I love that you can see the reflection of my dog in the photo where she jumped in half way through the shot. It looks quite spooky! I can’t wait to carry on taking photos with my Instax Mini all the way through the year creating happy memories as I go.

What memories do you have of the Spring?

*Ocean Loans kindly provided me with some polaroid prints in order to complete this blog post.

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