Sunday, 22 May 2016

A few of my favourite things featuring Giorgio Armani Si, Lord & Berry and Nancy Mitford

Giorgio Armani Si Eau de Parfum*

I'm finding it tricky to pick the perfect scent now that I'm approaching 30. Old favourites seem sickly sweet now but some classic scents are are a little over powering. This scent is fused with Mandarin Oil, Roses de Mai, Blond Woods, Amber and Vanilla and Si feels like the perfect match for me; someone who isn't a teenager anymore but doesn't really feel grown up. I would say that this is quite a sultry, evening scent and it lingers on the skin. I'm currently eyeing up Estee Lauder Modern Muse as my next fragrance of choice after getting a sample in my latest 'gift time' bag when I repurchased my Double Wear foundation. Si is quickly becoming my new favourite scent. 

If you have any scent recommendations please let me know in the comments, always looking to try scents that make an impact rather than lighter, floral types.

I have incredibly sensitive skin, completely annoying adult acne and eczema around my eyes. All of these mean that I find it pretty tricky to find skin care that works for me and that doesn't make my skin red and sore. I thought all the the above would disappear after my teenage years but alas, I'm cursed with awful skin and have to make the most of it. Even really gentle cleansers dry out my skin and make my eyes sore so I was pleased to find the fluid delicate worked for me and removes all the make up and dirt on my skin in one swipe of a cotton pad.  It is enriched with Hylauronic Acid which reduces the appearance of fine lines and as previously mentioned I'm quickly approaching 30 so I should probably start thinking about thinking about these things... It isn't tested on animals and the eye make up remover that compliments it even gets rid of stubborn mascara. 

I went through a bit of a phase of being obsessed with the Mitford sisters who are an aristocratic English family and they enjoyed particular notoriety in the early twentieth century. Nancy was a writer, Unity had a Hitler obsession, Diana married a fascist, Jessica was a Communist, Deborah was a Duchess and Pamela lived a relatively quiet life and enjoyed looking after horses and poultry. 

Nancy Mitford's most famous novel, The Pursuit of Love is a comedy about the British aristocracy in the twenties and thirties and charts the amorous adventures of the Radletts, an unconventional (bonkers) family closely modelled on Mitford's own. The book is incredibly funny, Nancy writes with a great deal of wit but there are also some more poignant moments. 

“Life is sometimes sad and often dull, but there are currants in the cake, and here is one of them.” 
― Nancy MitfordThe Pursuit of Love.

Next up on my 'to read' pile are the Mary Poppins books, Love, Nina and Sense and Sensibility. 

What are your favourite things at the moment? 

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Monday, 9 May 2016

Our First House - Kitchen & dining room

Dining room

This was the room that sold the house to me. It's got a lovely fireplace, original picture rail, built in storage and a big bay window looking out on to the back yard. The floor is currently filled with our bikes and clutter that needs to go in the shed once we put it together and there are a few finishing touches to add as it's looking a bit stark. There was a big surprise with this room, when we pulled the fireplace back to paint the wall we discovered the recess was only propped up with a bit of wood and we've had to put a lintel in to support the chimney breast. Home owning comes with lots of lovely little surprises like this... Once the attic room is ready I'll be moving the record collection up there and putting a Welsh dresser in their place.


I'm not particularly happy with this room at the moment. The tiling and worktops are both new but the previous owners made sloppy work of both of them. I need to re-grout the tiles and seal them where they meet the worktop and the worktop needs some edging to stop it blistering. I'm hoping to replace the cupboard doors over the next couple of months with some white ones which will make the room much brighter and more to my taste. The kitchen carcass is new so I won't need to replace that which will mean a budget kitchen makeover.  

I'm really happy with how everything is coming together with the house. There's so much left to do which isn't always easy to get done when myself, Martyn and my family all work varied shifts but we're getting there. This is the final introductory post to my new house, you can see the rest of my new house by clicking here and some before photos here.

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Sunday, 24 April 2016

Outfit post - Polka Dot Dress - House of Fraser

Dress:c/o Wallis House of Fraser - Shoes:Clarks found here - Bag:Zatchels 

It feels like I haven't done much recently because my focus (and money) has all gone on the new house but I went to see the American Idiot musical on Friday, visited friends in Eastleigh yesterday and I've got a early 40th birthday trip to Liverpool planned for Martyn and a Manics gig both coming up next month so lots to look forward to.

A meal out and going to watch the musical was a bit of a date night for me and Martyn so I made an effort and put my glad rags on. You have to look smart if you're going to the theatre dahling, right? The cast of the show were great (including Amelia Lily) and it made a nice change to the more traditional musicals I'm a fan of but was a bit more in keeping with Martyn's musical taste. Really looking forward to the next show that I have booked which is Billy Elliot.

All of my time online is spent looking at wedding venues and pinning bedroom inspiration so I've not done any online shopping for dresses for aaaages and I've been wearing the same ten dresses on rotation which can get a little dull so I was super excited then this polka dot number was delivered. I've worn this Wallis dress from House of Fraser a handful of times including on my date night and I've only had it for just over a week. It is definitely my new favourite and a nice summery addition to my wardrobe. I'll be wearing this in the summer with sandals and a denim jacket and to work with a cardigan. 

Are you a polka dot fan? I must have at least 5 polka dot dresses, one more can't hurt ;)

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Sunday, 17 April 2016

Our First House - Upstairs

Bedding: Joules - Curtains: Dunelm - Furniture: Ikea

Vase: Sainsburys - Dressing table set: charity shop - Mirror:Wilko
lightshade: John Lewis - Storage boxes: Matalan - Wardrobe:Very

Lamp: TK Maxx

The first post about my new home featured the hallway and living room which were the rooms we focussed on getting ready first. The upstairs is now starting to look like home but there is still lots to do. All the rooms upstairs have had a coat of white paint and the front bedroom has some grey on the feature walls. The previous owners had recently painted the bathroom but the coverage was so patchy and messy we had to give it a few coats of paint to tidy it up. 

Apart from the wooden furniture, a new bed and some new bedding in one of the rooms pretty much everything you see comes from the old house. The rooms are lacking in personality at the moment and we haven't hung all of our artwork so I'm currently searching for the right colour paints to lift the rooms and will invest in some new soft furnishings to give the rooms a little more impact. I love the original fireplaces and picture rails in both of the bedrooms, the old features definitely drew me to this house.

There is a third bedroom which isn't featured. It is currently full of boxes and has stairs leading to the attic room. Eventually we hope to have the box room as a study leading up to the attic room where all of our books, records and Martyn's drum kit will live. It will make a nice chill out space and there's room for a bed or sofa bed for when we have visitors. The attic needs a little work, the roof and lighting need some attention and I would love to get the eaves insulates properly before we move furniture up there. 

As you can see there's still some way to go before the house is just right but I'm happy with the progress that has been made. 

If you've posted about a bedroom makeover or want to share some bedroom ideas/pinterest boards please leave some links in the comments section so I can get a little inspiration. 

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Monday, 11 April 2016

The National Wedding Show

With inspiration and advice from over 250 wedding specialists, thousands of dresses to suit all budgets and a show-stopping catwalk, The National Wedding Show is a fun day out and a great place to start planning your perfect wedding.

I attended the show in Birmingham NEC with my mum and made a real day of it. It was the first time I had done any real wedding planning and tried on dresses. No High Street stores stocks wedding dresses in Cardiff, you have to order them in specially. This is a bit tricky for a bride on a budget as I don't have a credit card to put the dresses on and I would want to order a few sizes and shapes to try on. Most bridal boutiques are completely out of my price range so I was really excited to attend the show and actually get to try some dresses on and take a look at some designer dresses with Wedding Show discounts and offers that would fit my small budget. 

I was a guest of Debenhams for the day and headed straight to their beautifully presented stand. Their entire bridal collection was there to view along with their bridesmaid, bridal lingerie and bridal accessories collections, as well as the Mother of the Bride and kids collections.  Staff at the stand and in-store can offer style advice for the big day and make suggestions for a gift list, it can be a one stop shop for all of your weeding needs. I fell in love with a Coast two piece outfit for my bridal party at the Debenhams stand and my mum was particularly taken with a grey and pink dress that featured in the catwalk (photo above). 

Being a size 18 it wasn't possible to try on all the dresses I liked but there was a pretty, budget friendly one from Berketex I was able to try on and it was useful to see some of the detail up close and be able to compare what you get for your money when you opt for budget or splash the cash on designer (not a huge deal more in my opinion, some more beads ands a extra tailoring). I was a little worried that attending the show would be a bit disheartening for a budget bride but there was plenty of options in my price range and it was useful in terms getting ideas for my own wedding day even if I would have to recreate things with a bit of DIY and crafting and help from wiling friends. 

As well as trying on some dresses the day was also useful in terms of getting inspiration for cakes, invitations, photographers and even the honeymoon. I hadn't really put much thought into how I was going to capture my day on film before going to the show and I'm now seriously considering a photo booth and videographer if I can stretch my budget or discuss only a couple of hours coverage at a reduced price. If you would like to attend the show yourself there will be another chance in the autumn.

This is my first wedding post on the blog, I'm now in full on wedding planning mode so I'm sure there will be a couple more to follow. Can you recommend any South Wales wedding vendors? Have you been to a wedding show as part of your wedding prep or did you you exactly what you wanted right from the start?

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