Monday, 24 November 2014

Getting Crafty

Hey All

Hope you've had a great weekend. I've spent it entering my first competition for kickboxing and was so pleased I won my category!

Back in July I saw an awesome picture of a map and decided it was something I wanted to create. I wouldn't say I was the artiest of people but I thought with Christmas around the corner I'd share some of the crafty bits I've been doing. I think these type of things make great gifts and people appreciate the effort. I recently made my brother one for his birthday!

The first thing I did was google and print out a tone of pictures of maps I liked! The next task was to draw a grid on it. As I'm not the best drawer is I do it by a grid I find it easier as you only have to focus on getting the detail in one square at a time and I find it easier to scale it up accurately.

After drawing the grid on the printout I drew a grid on the piece of paper. I'd suggest making sure you paper is standard frame size and fitting the scaling and grid to that size or it can make framing difficult.

After drawing the grid I started to draw the map. By only having on square to focus on at a time it made it much easier to recreate the map accurately. I drew it lightly in pencil then rubbed out all the grid lines to prepare to paint.

I opted for water colours for this project. I love the way you can fade the colours and think it works better for this style.

For mine I chose to do pastel colours with more intensity at the edges. When I did a version of it for my brother birthday I went with brighter colours. I love doing this and losing myself concentrating on it project. It's so easy to do and leaves amazing results. It can be totally personalised for the person! 

For mine I opted for a personalised quote but chose to leave my brothers plain.

Do you get crafty with gifts? Would you try this?

Love M


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Sunday, 23 November 2014

Christmas Gift Guide II

Two weeks ago I wrote a Christmas Gift Guide based solely on Boots, Debenhams and Space NK - product heaven if you ask me!

Not only is Christmas a time for pampering though, it's a time for personalised and fun gifts that mean something to the recipient. Here's my round up of some fun, indulgent and unique gifts.

Not on the High Street

I've been browsing the gift site for a while for a range of gifts for various occasions including weddings and new babies; it certainly doesn't disappoint in that!
This Cocktail Garden kit is a great way for a friend to get more involved with their cocktails whilst getting mildly green fingers. I for one would love to try it out and make a mojito with my own mint that I'd grown. For £13.50 its a lot of fun! Find it here.

I always love this gift too. not only does it show where you've been but it's also a check list for new places you can discover in future. I'd love one for my future property (in my dreams!) and it will only set you back £15.95. Find it here.

The Personalised Gift section is one of my favourites; there's nothing like a unique gift for making it into your friend or relative's top present for all time!

You can browse the art prints that can be personalised here, I couldn't choose a picture as there so many lovely ones to look at!

Amelia Rope

I've written about Amelia Rope before (post here). She makes a wonderful range of chocolate with a twist and creates amazing flavours with sea salt, honeycomb, nuts, rose and so much more. A bar will set you back around £5.60 but the bundles can be great value ranging from £16 to £28 for the chocolate lover in your life.

2014-10-11 11.14.48

These bars really are special and I cannot recommend them enough, me and my family have shared bars and had a right giggle over the flavours and surprised ourselves with how much we loved the combinations. She uses fruits, nuts, seeds, plants and everything edible to create amazing new flavours and I believe many people would love such a treat.

You can find her site here - don't blame me if you end up buying them all!

Barnes and Noble Books

Most people love a good read, and there's nothing like a classic. I absolutely love old books and like a lot of people my aim when I buy my own place is to get a seriously big book case and fill it.

Barnes and Noble's Leatherbound Classics are the most perfect collectible books I've ever seen. Any book lover would appreciate them on their own but as the start of a collection it's a lovely present.

Image from Barnes and Noble
Each cover is different and with 113 different classics to collect you are sure to find one to suit. I can't stop staring that them and how beautiful they are!

Find the full list here

Liberty Scarves

I don't know about you but I loved watching the Liberty of London tv program, it's a lovely shop to go in but seeing all of the staff and how quirky and creative they are is fascinating to me. As a scientist most of my day is so far from the artistic creations that I used to be part of when doing art at school and working in retail so I love watching when other people do it!

When thinking of Liberty it's obvious that you will think of their scarves so when browsing and making my own wishlist of silk scarves I couldn't resist but share these lovely ones for a real Christmas treat.

CashCa Black Cashmere Scarf £105

You cannot go wrong with a simple black cashmere scarf and this one is all about luxury! 

Vivienne Westwood Blue Dyed Flag Viscose Scarf £120

I love a bit of VW for her love of the Union Jack and typical British colours, a scarf like this would look gorgeous with any outfit but I'd love it to throw on at work and brighten up my black and grey work outfits! 
Navy Liberty London Star Paisley Silk Scarf £110

The Liberty scarves are second to none when it comes to the timeless wild scarf. There are people who flock from all over the world to get them and their prints are infamous. I particularly like this one as it looks so much like peacock feathers and the colours are gorgeous. I don't think anyone would be angry for receiving a timeless classic like this. 

Frame Again*

We were contacted by Frame Again after writing the previous Gift Guide and it was lovely of them to allow us to create our own to see how the process works. Frame Again have featured on Dragon's Den but after turning down Peter Jones have built up their company on funds from the public. Their business specialises in printing and framing photos of your choice with multiple colour choices.

The best part of these frames? Not only are they able to be fixed to a wall but they are also magnetic, meaning you can fix them together back to back or side by side for a really cool effect. I've seen many images where others have tiled them on walls for a wall of photos which looks really cool, as well as sticking them together on a desk in series.

I chose to send them a picture of me and M at Glastonbury to test out the service and it was so much fun choosing the colour combinations. The delivery service was also super speedy and I received it just over a day after ordering.


The frame feels really sturdy and good quality and I look forward to getting more in future. I'd love to have a wall of them in multiple colours; they'd look great in a study, kitchen or hallway as a feature wall.

You can personalise your own Frames here for £9.99 at the moment instead of £19.99.

What do you think of these gifts? Would you love to receive them on Christmas Day? 

Let me know!

L xxx

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Saturday, 22 November 2014

Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer

Happy Saturday lovelies!

Hope you've got some exciting things planned. Currently I will be having a quiet day and then settling in to watch the Wales v New Zealand rugby match at 5.30pm as it's a big one for me family seeing as some of them now live over in NZ! That and it's always a tense game regardless!

M has frequently told me how flipping amazing the Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer is, but my bank balance just wouldn't stretch to it knowing I had a few Collection ones in the make up bag that needed using first. Needless to say when they were on their last dregs I caved and snapped this up without a second thought. Welcome to my make up bag NARS!



I chose the colour Vanilla as M uses the same. Most people seem to think i have much darker skin than I do on account of my near black hair colour but I really am quite pale (my mum gets annoyed when I wear dark lipsticks as it 'makes me look ill' - thanks mum, your genes remember!)

This colour was absolutely perfect for me and i haven't looked back. The rubber packaging looks really good though alas gets ridiculously dirty 5 seconds after opening.


I've been using this mostly under my eyes as it's wonderful at covering those pesky bags that never seem to go away. I think my skin is so pale that it will always be an issue for me!

The concealer is thick and creamy and blends in really easily so I've definitely been won over by the consistency and pigmentation.

The wand is also really easy to use and holds a decent amount of product without caking it on.



I have also used it to cover up spots on the odd occasion but I tend to use other products for that and save this one for the big job of concealing my undereye area. I use the wand to apply it to my face and then blend it in using an expert face brush from Real Techniques.

Here's a few snaps:



These two were without flash and show how the colour blends right in and covers up my bags really well. I've got foundation on as well as this is how I wear my make up every day so just need to set with powder to keep it set for the day.

The photo below shows with flash and you can see where my bags are but they are still pretty well camouflaged in my opinion!


I think I could have added an additional layer if I had wanted too and maybe it would be blanked out completely but for every day use this is perfect for me.

I've had no issues whatsoever and can only rave about the results from using this; it's a 10/10 from me and a 100% recommendation. Totally worthy of the hype and other rave reviews that I've seen!

Have you tried this concealer from Nars? What's your favourite Nars product? Do you have of their Christmas gift sets on your wishlist?

L xxx

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Friday, 21 November 2014

Winter Wardrobe Updates

Morning pals!

Another Friday is here and we're another week closer to Christmas! It only gets more exciting from here and it's my favourite type of year. Winter clothes are also my favourite kind, layering is the best thing and I love all of the patterns and colours associated with autumn/winter clothing.

Here's what I've been buying to update my wardrobe this year:


First up I picked up this belt from Dorothy Perkins. I've had a belt for dresses very similar to this before and I wore it until it fell apart so I knew it was a good buy. It's definitely good for wearing at any time of year but as has been happening for the last few years the trend for wearing a belt to cinch in your coat is back and this one is going to be making it back into my wardrobe.


Secondly I snapped up this BEAUTIFUL scarf from Zara. I touched it in store and couldn't leave it behind. I love the patterns in tartan and the red is gorgeous and goes with all of my coats, it's a winner and was something I had no idea I needed and now cannot live without. It doesn't leave my neck during the week now!



My latest shoe purchase is from New Look and I had to order them from in store as they didn't have any left. The heel height is perfect for most occasions and the gold buckle detailing is enough to give it a bit more pizazz. These can be worn with leggings and jeans and I look forward to wearing them to the pub over the next few months.


Capes are big news and this blanket cape cardigan type garment is absolutely fabulous. It's super comfy, warm and goes with everything, literally EVERYTHING. The colours mean it complements many outfits but there are also many tartan type patters and colours available too and if I was rolling in the spare cash I'd probably get another.
This one is from New Look and I'm so glad that fashion has produced and comfortable, wearable and warm item of clothing for the winter months. I've always wanted to look chic in a cape, jeans and boots!


Lastly is my new bag also from New Look (they've clearly got a lot out of money out of me recently!) This beautiful bottle green bag has replaced my tired looking black bag for work purposes.
It's awesome, the colour is lush and it holds it's shape really well too which is perfect as I seem to be lugging a lot of paper back and forth to work at the moment!

What have you been buying to update your wardrobe? Do you have anything else on your wishlist?

I'm looking to add another coat, a lovely thick wool one would be lovely but I may have to wait until the sales for the type of quality I would be looking for. I'm fed up of buying important items like coats and finding out they are cheaply made! If you have any suggestions for some hardwearing well made coats leave them in the comments section below!

L xxx

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