Saturday, 8 January 2022

Collaborative / Partnered Post - Coffee, Camping, Or Cat-Opoly ? Budget Friendly Activities To Do With Friends*

Over the last year or so, one of the things that I've really missed is spending time with my friends. Socially distanced coffee dates, and talking through a gap in the door just didn't cut it at all. Thankfully though, fingers crossed, with an increase in vaccinations, hopefully 2022 is the year when we can start spending more time with our families and friends.
I do enjoy a good coffee or ice cream date, or even a shopping trip with my friends but have you ever fancied doing something just that little bit different? Engaging in a specific task or activity with your friends is always a great time to bond and create memories. It is also great the chance to learn things together, to work as a team, and to have some fun along the way
As much as I'd love to go on a city break or to a luxury spa with my bestie, finances often get in the way, and some of activities and things that you'd love to do with you bestie are just too expensive to do on a regular basis. Whilst your saving up though for that luxury break though, you don't have to just stick to a cheap coffee date or an afternoon window shopping there are a few more budget friendly activities that you could try instead
Play Board Games
Sometimes looking back to the things you used to enjoy as a child can be a gateway to having fun as an adult. Once seen as a bit passé board games are trendy again with new versions of older games such as Monopoly ( Cat-Opoly anyone?) and Scrabble as well as newer game such as Catan flying off the shelves
In moments such as now when we're just starting to rejoin the real world again board games such as Chess, and Scrabble aren't just games - they stimulate your brain by encouraging you to solve problems, and to create winning strategies. Puzzle games and quiz games like Trivial Pursuit, will also get your brain working and create some healthy banter between friends, but remember it is just a game and you're supposed to be having fun so try not to take it too seriously ;)
Now this one isn't probably the cheapest option but it doesn't have to be expensive, and again it's returning to something that you probably enjoyed in your childhood, skating!
Obviously you could take a few lessons, but you don't need to, to have some fun, so grab yourself some skates and start moving! Whether you choose roller skates vs inline skates for exercise reasons, for enjoyment reasons or even practical reasons (I have the worst balance so I'm a retro roller girl!), the most important thing is you're getting out there and having some fun and who knows, if you really enjoy it, you could maybe join a roller derby team, or organise a roller disco, competing, networking and making new friends.
Learn Some Beauty Hacks
Next up, something close to me heart, and something for the less active amongst us, something that you can do alone or with friends is stick on a You Tube video, or open a blog and learn some beauty and fashion hacks.
Even if your circle of friends are not into the latest trends, you can guarantee that there is always something beauty or fashion wise that they've wanted to learn how to do. It could be how to style their hair, how to create a capsule wardrobe, how to apply false eyelashes, or how to contour.
Grab a few drinks and some snacks get creative and learn some beauty and fashion tricks together. There are millions of YouTube videos you can watch together and learn, so grab your make up, and give each other a make up, or even make your own, my best friend does my make up video. It doesn't matter if it goes wrong make up is all about having fun and it shouldn't be taken that seriously!
Go Camping
Now this one is another suggestion that could be as cheap or as expensive as you make it. I must admit the idea of being in a tent, cold and without a proper toilet slightly fills me full of horror, but I've been watching a few glamping and van life videos lately and the freedom of being out in the open definitely appeals!
If your friends love adventure and nature, then camping is the activity for you. It can be a cheap way to go away from home, bond with nature, unwind, and rest. If it's your first time then you can probably borrow the basics, and even with possible, camp site fees, you'll just need to pay extra for food and drinks, and transport, even one night away from the same four walls can make a real difference to your mood, and spending time with a friend with no real distractions sounds ideal and a great way to cement a relationship.
Road Trips
If you're lucky enough to have a car or you have a friend that does, then going on a road trip is another excellent potentially low budget activity that you can engage with your loved ones to have a good time. Obviously, all of you will need to budget for fuel, and for food and drink on the way, and some money for when you get to your destination but depending on where you're headed it doesn't need to be an expensive day out.
Even if you're just going to the seaside to eat ice cream, stick on some tunes, follow the rules of the road, and spend some quality time with friends or family
Spending quality time with friends and family and making memories doesn't have to be expensive, yes you can grab a coffee together but mix it up a bit as you can see here there are loads of new and different hobbies and activities that you can try to keep those relationships fresh.
What do you do when you meet up with your friends? Do you go for a meal, or shopping, or do you go a fitness class? Whatever you do I'd love to hear from you so let me know your favourite things to do with friends in the comments x
*Collaborative / Partnered Post

A Quick Overview Of The Glossybox 2021 Advent Calendar - Surprise Me - Days 13 - 25*

Hey Guys x I hope you're all having a good weekend so far, Today I'm spoiling you with not one but two blog posts and first up I'm sharing a quick overview of days 13 to 25 of the 2021 Glossybox advent calendar x (You can catch up on days 1 - 12 here x).

Day 13 - Laura Geller Touch Up All Over Face Brush - Deluxe Mini - Est. RRP £13

First up another beauty tool, and it's a make up brush from one of my favourite brands, Laura Geller. It's a small synthetic fibre face brush. It feels lovely and soft and it's a real multipurpose face brush, meaning you can use it for blush, highlighter, setting powder, and even for Laura Geller's famous Balance-n-Brighten base product. You can buy the odd Laura Geller product from a few online retailers now including Simply Be, and QVC UK, as direct from Laura Geller herself but I can't find this specific brush anywhere, Glossybox however give it an RRP of £13.

Day 14 - Ecooking Peeling Mask - 15ml - Deluxe Mini - Est. RRP £11.10

Next up a skincare product, and it was a product from Danish based beauty brand, Ecooking. Crammed full of AHA's including glycolic and salicylic acids, this mask is specially designed to remove dead skin cells, in order to tighten and smooth the skin. As someone with very visible pores, and unevenly textured skin, who loves acids this mask sounds ideal for me. I haven't tried it yet but I'll let you what I think about it when I do. 

Glossybox place a value of £11.10 on this 15ml size, but it doesn't same to be available anywhere on its own. The full 50ml size retails at around £37 and it available from various retailers including direct from Ecooking, and from Feel Unique.

Day 15 - Magnitone Swipes Eco Friendly Microfibre Cleansing Pads  - 2 x Pack - Deluxe Mini - Est. RRP £7

The next product or should I say products come from cleansing specialist Magnitone. I was first introduced to Magnitone via their Pulsar cleansing system, and whilst they still do produce a variety of electronic beauty tools, they also sell a range of microfibre cleansing products called Wipeout. I've already tried the cloths which you can use with cleanser or even just with water to remove make up, and these pads work pretty much the same way.They feel lovely and soft and fluffy, and as well as for general cleansing and eye make up removal, I think I'll also be using them with toners and skin fresheners. 

Glossybox place an estimated price of £7 on this pack of two pads, online I can only find a pack of 6 that retails at £15 direct from Magnitone and from Feel Unique.

Day 16 - Steve Laurant Lip Liner - Uptown - 1g - Full Size - RRP $15 / £10.70

It wouldn't be a Glossybox product if it didn't feature a product from one of their favourite make up brands Steve Laurant, and the 2020 calendar contains a nude brown lip pencil in the shade Uptown. I've already tried a lip pencil from Steve Laurant in the shade Vogue, and you can read my full review here

I'll do a full review of this pencil in due course but if you fancy trying it, it's available direct from Steve Laurant for around $15 x Glossybox placed a value of £10.70 on it.

Day 17 - Boucleme Scalp Massager - Full Size - RRP £12

I said in my last advent calendar post that were a lot of beauty tools in this calendar and here is another one, and this time it's a hair care product from curly hair specialist, Boucleme. The ergnomically shaped masssager has an easy grip, easy hold design, and soft rubber nodules. It's  perfect for using dry as a head and scalp massager, or for applying shampoo and conditioner. Even though I only have wavy, not curly hair I can't wait to give this a try to try and stimulate my scalp and a bit of hair growth.

Although a lot of retailers such as Feel Unique, and even Boots sell Boucleme products, the only place that I can find this particular product is direct from Boucleme, where it retails at £12.

Day 18 - Zoeva Infinite Potential Mascara - Full Volume - Black - 9ml - Full Size - Est. RRP £15

From the hair on your head to the hair on your eye lids (I'm sure that sounded better in my head ;), and your eyelashes, and the product in box number 18 was a mascara from Zoeva. Originally known for their make up brushes, Zoeva now produce a very successful make up line, I've only tried one other make up product from them but I was pretty impressed with it and I can't wait to share my thoughts on this volumising, defining and lengthening mascara in a future post x

This full size mascara retails at anywhere between  £15 - £17.50 and is available direct from Zoeva as well from various other retailers including Feel Unique, Flannels Beauty, and Cloud 10 Beauty.

Day 19 - This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray - 5ml - Deluxe Mini - Est. RRP £6 

Next up something that I've talked about a few times before, and it's a product that I love. If you're having trouble sleeping as I said in the previous advent calendar post there are lots of things you can do to help, including sleep masks, calming tea blends, changing your pillows (more on that to come in a future post;) and by using a product like this. Containing lavender, camomile and vetivert, spray this gorgeous smelling blend onto your bedding, take a few deep breaths and feel the stresses drain away! 

I've actually found a similar product that I like slightly more, but I would still throughly recommend this one if you're having trouble switching off at night x I can't find this size on it's own but it is available in a few kits, and sets and various sizes are available direct from This Works as well as from Feel Unique, Look Fantastic, and Marks and Spencers.

Day 20 - Laritzy Cosmetics Long Lasting Liquid Lipstick - Nude Peach - 3.1g - Full Size - RRP £14 / $20

Like Steve Laurant, Laritzy are another popular subscription box brand, and in box number 20 of the 2021 calendar, beauty lovers received a full size Laritzy Liquid Lipstick. The calendar contained one of 5 shades and the one that I received was in the shade Nude Peach, which more of a nude, peachy brown shade. I will be featuring this product in the depth in and upcoming post but if you want an idea of the performance and texture then you can read my review of a different shade Tidal here x  This product is available exclusively from Laritzy where it has a retail price of $20 / £14

Day 21 - Bubble T Cosmetics Bath Crumble in Pink Grapefruit - 100g - Full Size - RRP £4.99 - £5

The next item in the calendar was something that I couldn't use so I will be passing it on to one of my friends who is lucky enough to have a bath. From fruit and tea inspired brand Bubble T, this is a bag of pink grapefruit scented bath crumble, which basically looks like broken pieces of bath bomb. The only place that I can find this is direct from Bubble T where it retails at £5.

Day 22 Verso Skincare Nourishing Cream With Niacinamide - 15ml - Deluxe Mini- Est. RRP £23.20

From body to face, and the next product is a skincare item from a new brand to me, Verso. Hailing from Sweden, this is a hydrating moisturiser, thats crammed full of niacinamide to protect the skin. I haven't tried it yet but I will probably show you this one is a future empties post.

I've done a bit of research and this one is also not available on it's own in this size, it is available in a few try me sets though, and the full 50ml size retails at around £80 from various retailers including Space NK, Feel Unique, and Cult Beauty as well as direct from Verso.

Day 23 - Illamasqua Antimatter Lipstick - Bang - 2g - Mini - RRP £12

Next up another make up item, and it's another lip product this time from Illamasqua. From their Antimatter line, this is a mini lipstick in the shade Bang, which is officially described as a muted pink, although for me in the bullet it's looks more like a nude, peachy pink. Again I will be featuring this in a future luscious lips post x 

I can't find this mini size on it's own but the full size has an RRP of around £17 direct from Illamasqua.

Day 24 - Rodial Soft Focus Glow Drops Illuminating Ultimate Glow Primer - 31ml - Full Size - RRP £50

Now when I first opened this next box I initially thought that this was a liquid highlighter. Pale shimmery pink in colour though this product from Rodial is actually an illuminating primer, that you can either underneath your make up, mixed with your foundation, or on its own for a glowy, fresher looking complexion. If you would like to see a full review of this one then please let me know in the comments x 

This product has a retail price of around £50 and it available direct from Rodial as well as from Look Fantastic, Feel Unique and Harvey Nichols.

Day 25 - HUDA Beauty Mercury Retrograde Eyeshadow Palette - Full Size - RRP £58

Now, I would be honestly be lying if I said that the item on Day 25 wasn't the main reason why I decided to get this calendar. Unlike in previous years, I wanted to know what I was getting before I decided which to calendar and thankfully in 2021 there seemed to be a lot of spoilers floating around, and since I'd wanted this palette for the longest time, the 2021 Glossybox advent calendar was the perfect choice.

From cult brand HUDA Beauty, box number 25 contained a full size Mercury Retrograde eyeshadow palette and isn't she an absolute beauty! Nudes, brights, mattes, shimmer, foils and glitters, this palette would be perfect for anyone that loves eyeshadow, and that wants to play it safe on some days and go all out and experiment on others!

Not only does it look beautiful but the quality is immense, again I have a full review coming soon but if don't want to wait and you fancy splashing out purely based on two pictures, this palette has a recommended retail price of £58 and is available from more HUDA Beauty stockists including Boots, Cult Beauty, Feel Unique, Net-a-Porter, ASOS, and of course directly from HUDA Beauty.

So there you have it the 2021 Glossybox advent calendar in full, obviously you can make you're own conclusions on whether it was worth it or not, but for me it most certainly was - like with all beauty advent calendars there were a few minis, and deluxe minis, but I don't honestly mind that especially when some of the full sizes have such a high retail value. Speaking of expensive products there were actually quite a few in this calendar, the retail price of the Avant product alone was more than the entire calendar, and the HUDA palette was 3/4 of the value so I don't think you can really complain about the cost of the products v the calendar price. There is always a risk with calendars, and it is very much a case of you'll like it or you won't, personally though I love the surprise element and I love trying things new things and new brands.

Just a quick word on the packaging as well, I love the drawer style so I can definitely reuse that but I do wish that there was a way of cutting down the individual boxes, I try to use them the best I can for storing Christmas decorations and for packaging mini gifts, but there is still a lot of excess cardboard but I'm not sure there is another solution .

Again let me know your thoughts on this calendar in the comments, and as I say I will try to review as many of the products as I can in the either individual review posts or in future empties posts but if there is anything in particular you'd like a full review of then please let me know below x Thanks for reading and I will see you later today with another lifestyle post x

*This Post Contains Added Automatic Affiliate, Added Affiliate And Non Affiliate Links

Wednesday, 5 January 2022

Collaborative / Partnered Post - Get Out Of That Rut In 2022 And Find Some Creative Inspiration Online*

Hi Guys and Happy New Year! Although this wasn't the post that I'd planned for my first blog outing of 2022, I thought it was an interesting one to start with x Over the last couple of years so many of us seem to have lost our way somewhat, and while some people have found new hobbies and new ways to express themselves, a lot of us have just ended up stuck in a rut, and do you know what? that's okay, but now with hopefully a better on the year on the horizon, surely it's time to start doing more of the things that we love. I know a lot of people are planning all sorts of elaborate and fun holidays, but it can be as simple as finding a new hobby, planning a house makeover or trying a new recipe, whatever it is in 2022 hopefully we can start being inspired to try new things and to do more of what we love.

After the last two years or so though it probably isn't surprising that so many of us are feeling uninspired and as though every ounce of creativity has been snuffed out but there are ways to get your creative juices flowing again and to get that mojo back for the new year.

It sounds obvious but start off by thinking of the things that you love and enjoy, sometimes all it takes is being introduced or even reintroduced to something you find appealing, and then at least you have a starting point. The most important thing to remember is that we can't force ourselves to be inspired by anything, yes so many of us baked banana bread during lockdown but how many of us are now ready to apply to Great British Bake Off, not many of us I imagine, doing something like a hobby shouldn't be done purely for something to do, it shouldn't be artificial, it should be something that we enjoy doing, and it should say something about who we are as people.

In this post, then, I'm going to share a few ways of finding creative inspiration by using one of my favourite methods, social media. Social media has a bad rep at times but it can actually be a really helpful tool to help us find things that inspire us and things that we enjoy, so try this out to make sure your computer and digital organisation efforts are up to scratch before giving some of these tips a try x

Collate Images You Appreciate

Now I wouldn't be a blogger, and an avid social media user, if I did't recommend some of the top social media platforms. Using online tools like Pinterest, Instagram, blogs you enjoy (Mine ;), image boards, and more, you can put together visual mood boards that help you think through ideas. I've recently got into Pinterest and that is one addictive platform and already I've learnt so much from it, I've found recipes, nail art ideas, outfit ideas, and crafting suggestions, and that's just on one site, you can also search tags on Instagram, and for blogs and You Tube channels that can inspire you to cook, paint your nails, and decorate your bedroom - the online world is your oyster!

Even looking through digital art using platforms like Behance can make a great deal of different. Simply consider the kind of art style you find enjoyable and influential, and collate them in a note-taking app, or if you're more of pen and paper person print them for your sketchbook, or your notebook This can help you index and hold on to material that's inspired you, and will help you flourish as a creative hobbyist or that can even help you grow in your professional life

Follow Influencers That Inspire You

Much is said about the rise of the influencer, both good and bad, but it’s true to say that you only need to focus on those that inspire you. I have to be honest and say that I've unfollowed a lot of people / influencers over the years, and I've gone on to follow different ones as I've changed and they've changed. Don't be scared to unfollow people, if someone makes you feel bad about yourself, and you can't relate to them then it's the best thing to do. There are many artists, writers, bloggers, fitness professionals and more with your sensibilities, or sensibilities that might challenge you at first but also help you think of the world in a different way. No matter if you’re hoping to learn more about plus-size fitness, or African fashion trends, or anything else that inspires you, searching for these profiles is as simple as a few worthwhile hashtags. Whatever your interests or passions, there will be people out there that you'll love and that will inspire you, don't necessarily look for the big names, there are some fabulous smaller 'influencers' out there that produce some fabulous work and really have something to say.

Read Blogs You Can Relate To

As a blogger I'm bound to push this one but again the same applies, there are so many amazing bloggers out there, again not necessarily the big names, that produce some fabulous informative, and from the heart content. Outside of social media posts and Instagram pictures, however, a blog gives us the chance to understand people’s intent, their meaning, and their willingness to be vulnerable. No matter if this involves a bloggers’ struggle in raising their child right, to losing weight bit by bit, to managing a health condition, following those you appreciate, supporting them, opening that dialogue, all of this can and will have a profound effect on your faith in people in general, because although it's hard to admit it social media can often be pretty fake. I've been blogging for a long time now and things have changed a lot over the years, and whilst the focus is now on Instagram with it's pretty pictures, and constructs, blogging for me has always been about keeping it real, being honest about my life and my failings, whilst at the same time enjoying talking about my passions and things that I love. The written word for me is always more honest than a photograph, and that's why blogs will always win out. From baking blogs, to make up blogs, to crafting and interiors blogs there is something out there for everyone, and being inspired by real people doing real things has to be one of the best ways to learn, and if you are inclined there is no better way to create something than to create your own little space on the internet, and to start your own blogging journey.

So whether your looking for inspiration and for a new hobby online, or like me and numerous craft kits buys, in the middle aisle at Aldi, hopefully I've given you some ideas, all be it ones that are close to my heart, about how to get out of that creative rut. We all have dreams so why shouldn't we start trying to fulfil them in 2022, whether you want to write a novel, paint a picture, or even set up your own food blog, don't dream it do it!

*Collaborative / Partnered Post