Sunday, 31 May 2015

Taking My Dad For A Mug

Snapfish travel mug
16 oz Travel Mug - £14.99 (*)


What do you get a dad who as everything for Father's Day? I'm guessing this question is going through quite a lot of minds right about now with Father's Day only a mere 3 weeks away (21st June if it's not in your calendar). Whilst it was so easy when I was little, getting crafty and making something cute, I don't think my doodles will cut it anymore. Not at my standard anyway.

Nothing screams thoughtful than something that has been personalised. I mean, someone has put in time and effort to order that gift. Everyone has seen the usual cards, calendars, mugs and prints, but something that has stood out to me is Snapfish's travel mug. With everyone getting busier and busier, travel mugs seem to be having a bit of a moment and rightly so. Forget those expensive on-route coffee trips, you can now save money in style with a personalised travel mug. Think hot chocolate, coffee, tea, herbal tea or even soup! 

When Snapfish asked if I'd like to create my own personalised gift, I was a bit hesitant. Usually personalised means getting to grips with some fiddly software which creates something you're never totally happy with. Thankfully that wasn't the case and I was pleasantly surprised by how quick and easy everything was. The mug can be customised with up to 15 photos so once you've decided which ones you want to use, it's just a case of deciding on the layout. Just a couple of clicks and your gift is ready to be delivered.

Once ordered, the mugs arrived in 3-4 days and I was so happy with how they turned out. I actually ordered one for myself, and one for my dad so I've had a chance to road test my own. The actually product is a 16oz travel mug which possess a durable stainless steel double wall, ensuring it is cool to the touch whilst keeping the contents hot or cold. It also has a screw top lid with a convenient carry handle and drinking port making it very practical for both the early morning commute and weekend road trips. The cup washes great and so far my picture hasn't flaked or faded. 

At £14.99 the product offers incredible value for money, They're different to the usual coffee mugs and something everyone could get use from. From sports teams to birthdays, they would be appreciated by anyone year-round making them the perfect gift.


If you want to pick one up for your dad for father's day, the last ordering date is 15th June 2015!

What's your practical go-to gift?
xoxo
J
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Friday, 29 May 2015

West Crete by Train

Two weeks ago I was fortunate enough to spend a week on the beautiful Greek Island of Crete. We stayed on the West part of the island, in a little village 30 minutes West of Chania, called Gerani. I'm extremely fortunate in that I've had so many amazing family holidays, but on the plane back, we all agreed this one was right up there with the best.


creta paradise



creta paradise
creta paradise
creta paradise
Part of the reason why we enjoyed it so much was because of the hotel. We stayed at the Atlantica Caldra Creta Paradise and it was simply amazing. The staff couldn't do enough for you and were always smiling and genuinely interested in the guests. We even had two terraces and our own pool!

little fun train crete


When I stay somewhere I like to explore the area and especially go into the less commercialised parts of town to really get a feel for the place and culture. Since none of us wanted to drive (it just feels wrong driving on the right hand-side of the road) and attempt to navigate greek road signs, we went on the hunt for the next best alternative. We finally found out about the Little Fun Train and decided to book on for a trip. Although designed for tourists, we thought it was the best way to see the local area without having to drive. 

west crete




west crete

west crete
We opted for the Western Adventure which took us through the villages of Maleme, Tavronitis, Rapaniana and Kolymbari. Sitting back on the train gave us time to appreciate the amazing scenary of the White Mountains and coast. I fell in love with the little shops covered in bright coloured flowers and the people dressed in black sat outside cafes catching up with friends and family. We even got a chance to see some glimpses of the "White Mountains" in the distance. The guide explained that the mountains are capped with snow until late June, but remain white even after the snow has melted due to their Limestone composition. Our first stop of the 3 & 1/2 hour trip was at Marathokefala in the mountains at the cave and church of Saint John which was breathtaking. 

west crete white mountains

west crete

west crete
We then got back on the train and enjoyed the incredible views as we drove round the mountain villages. We eventually reached the village of Spilia, which our guide joked was known as Crete's "Beverly Hills". In the middle of nowhere on a Greek mountain with no one around us, our guide suddenly stopped the train and told us to follow her on foot up a narrow country road. A couple of metres up the road we stopped in front of one of Crete's many olive fields. It was here our guide explained that this village was the home of the world's oldest olive tree, aptly named "Olympia". Branches of this tree were even used at recent Olympic Games including London! It's crazy to think something so important is hidden away in a small mountain village. It hadn't been made into a massive tourism attraction, and the character of the village had somehow been preserved. That's what I discovered about Crete in generally, there's hidden treasures around every corner. 

worlds oldest olive tree crete

west crete

Following our stop at "Olympia", we got back on to our little train and headed further into the mountains. I felt like time had stopped and everything was much more relaxed up here. The very few people we saw seemed to be so relaxed and not rushing around like they are back home. Round every bend, the architecture was stunning and it got to the point where you couldn't physically take pictures of everything. At our last stop of the trip we stopped at a local farmhouse to see how Raki is made. Sometimes called "firewater" you're often given a shot of this after a meal if you go to a Greek restaurant. The farmer explained the process and to our shock said that when it's first made it's 100% proof, but then is thankfully reduced to 40%. The locals also rub it on their chests if they have a bad cough. Imagine what that does to your insides!

Finally we got back on to the train and headed back through the villages and into Gerani so we could find a nice restaurant for our evening meal. If you're ever in this area of Crete, I'd definately recommend hoping on a tour. The trips focus on the villages and hidden side roads rather the more popular areas and aim to help the local economy rather than commercialise the area. Perfect if you want a flavor of the real Crete.

Next time I'll show you the sights of Chania, possibly one the most beautiful cities ever.
xoxo
J
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Wednesday, 27 May 2015

DKNY Limited Edition Delicious Delights

womens summer fragrance
DKNY Delicious Delights Cool Swirl - £24.99
DKNY Delicious Delights Dreamsicle - £24.99
Available here


I have a soft spot for the DKNY Delicious Fragrances. They were one of my first 'grown-up" perfumes, just behind Lactose Touch of Pink, and are known in our house as the apple perfume as homage to their shape and the original campaign. For me, they are the perfect daytime summer fragrance fresh, fruity and light. So when I saw that they had released 3 limited edition fragrances for this summer, I knew I'd have to go and have a sniff. 

Your eyes aren't deceiving you, there are only two fragrances in the picture, and in this review. When I went to smell the fragrances I wasn't keen on Fruity Rooty (the lilac one) so obviously didn't pick it up. For those of you wondering, Fruity Rooty has notes of apple, rose petals and violet flower. I would recommend trying before you buy, as I didn't think it smelt anything like this and was definitely more floral than fruity.

Moving on the ones I did get, Cool Swirl (the green one) also has blackurrent notes, combined with violet leaves, coconut water and jasmine. I didn't think this would be my sort of scent, but it's really nice. It's quite similar to the orginal green DKNY Be Delicious, and is light, fresh and fruity. The strongest note is the coconut, but it's not particularly powerful and combines with the other notes to make this fruity scent a little more summery. 

My favorite has to be Dreamsicle, and not just for it's name. Again with notes of blackcurrant, this fragrance combines mandarin, raspberry, peaches and green apples. This is the fruitiest of the trio but still isn't particularly strong. You can definitely pick of the mandarin and raspberry notes but combined it's reminiscent of a beautiful fruit salad at a BBQ. Not that I'm biased at all. 

Overall I'd recommend Dreamsicle if you like sweeter fragrances, and Cool Swirl if you prefer freshness. If your interested in Fruity Rooty, go and have a smell first because it really doesn't smell anything like you would imagine it to.

What's your favorite summer perfume?
xoxo
J

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Monday, 25 May 2015

Huge Duty Free Beauty Haul

airport shopping

airport shopping




Two weeks ago I jetted off to Crete for a family holiday. I was most excited about the sun, but I'd be lying if the thought of making a few sneaky purchases hadn't crossed my mind. As I usually only go away once a year, I use Duty Free as an opportunity to stock up on perfume for the next year. Having not been away for a good 3 years I saved up like made and now have the shopping bags to prove it.

At 6.30 am in Manchester Airport I was most definitely in my happy place. Surrounded by all kinds of brands, I smelt different fragrances until they all blurred into one. I'm not sure why I even bothered as I knew what I wanted before I had even arrived. Having already tried samples of Jimmy Choo, Vicktor & Rolf Bon Bon, Chanel Chance &; Miss Dior, I'd already noted them down on my shopping list. I was happily surprised to see a Jo Malone counter, thinking it was only at Terminal 1. I've wanted a Jo Malone fragrance for so long, so naturally Pomegranate Noir is now mine. Whilst picking up the Lancome Miracle Cushion and Estee Lauder's Little Black Primer, a lovely sales assistant told me they had just recieved a small amount of Lancome's new fragrance, La Nuit Tretor which isn't released on the high street until later in the year. I'll let you into a secret, it's amazing.

airport shopping
Why limit yourself to shopping on the ground, when you can shop high in the sky?! Whilst me and my mum shop until we drop on holiday, my dad isn't interested in anything. Thankfully he let us use the rest of his duty free allowance, meaning more shopping for me. There was some complete steals on the plane, including the Rodial Super Food Kit for a fraction of the price on the high street. Both my mum and I are huge Marc Jacobs fans and had to grab this Marc Jacobs Fragrance set so we can try Honey and Dot!

airport shopping
What's a girl to do to pass the time when her return flight is delayed? I simply fell into the Duty Free Shop at Chania Airport while waiting for our flight back home. I happened to stumble upon the Dior counter where the Miss Dior Fragrance set was far too tempting. I finally succumbed and got the Victor & Rolf Flowerbomb. Because I bought two fragrances, I got 40% off any cosmetics, so it was only right I picked up the Dior Addict Fluid Stick in Mirage.

I'm now on a strict spending ban until I go to the States in September. I think I owe my purse that much.
xoxo
J
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Monday, 18 May 2015

Lipgloss Saviour

Swoon Lip Gloss Aid
Swoon Lip Gloss Aid
Swoon Lip Gloss Aid
Swoon Lip Gloss Pick Up Artist - $12

Today's post is a little post about a tool I'm pretty sure won't be in your make up bag!
When searching Sephora one night in the midst of a haul I stumbled across something I had never seen before. Designed exclusively for Sephora, Swoon is a lip gloss applicator that picks up every last drop of your lip gloss from the bottom of the tube. Perfect for extending the life of discontinued shades, simply place the scoop into the tube and use it to apply your gloss. The wand itself is flexible and reusable, fitting into any brand of gloss. At first I was a bit uncertain as to how hygenic this is but the actual head doesn't absorb any product making it easy to clean with makeup brush cleaner or a baby wipe, and there's a cap that snaps shut to keep it clean.

I've never seen anything like this before, but I think it's a really great idea. Now you can get full use out of all your limited editions and are able to make your favorite gloss last that little bit longer.

What do you think of this? Have you seen any interesting tools lately?
xoxo
J
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Friday, 15 May 2015

Match Your Tips With Your Tan

Nail Varnish to make you look more tanned



When I'm deciding on what make up to take on holiday, I always struggle to settle on a nail colour. For some reason I feel an urge to coat my talons in a bright shade, a million miles from my usual understated pastel and nude tones. There is a beauty reason behind my sudden shift, bright shades help to make your tan glow. As the nearest I'm going to get to a tan is a couple more freckles and a bit of a shiny t-zone, I'm hoping my nails will perform miracles. Well, a girl can hope. Stepping on to the more vibrant side isn't easy though as even then, there's something for everyone, from those who just like to lie on a sunbed reading, to those who lie on a sunbed hungover. 

Somehow I've managed to narrow down my options to these six, but I'm still torn between the two Illamasqua offerings and Essie's Mojito Madness. Decisions, decisions ...


From left to right
1. Essie Style Hunter
2. Illamasqua Radium
3. Barry M Gelly Grapefruit
4. Nails Inc. Great Tichfield Street
5. Illamasqua Marquise
6. Essie Mojito Madness

What shade would you choose?
xoxo
J
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Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Kindle: A Bookworm's BFF?

kindle vs books


Kindle, Amazon's best-selling e-reader that makes transporting your entire library wherever you may go possible. Having bought an early Sony e-reader when electronic books were a revolutionising concept, and then upgraded to a Kindle a couple of years ago. You would understandably assume then that I am a pro-ebook, but the truth is, I'm still on the fence.

Don't get me wrong, I adore e-books. I love that you can taken literally hundreds of books with you on your travels. Gone are the days when you have to decide on one good holiday read. Now you can take everything and choose whatever picks your fancy that day. At University, I downloaded a lot of my textbooks so I didn't have to carry thick, heavy law books around with me whenever I wanted to do work. Not only that, I find it a lot easier to read on a Kindle on public transport, be that a plane, train or bus, than a physical book. You don't need much space to hold an e-reader, but I need to be super comfy to read a book, and that does involve space. Stepping away from portability, I love that e-books have made reading a lot more accessible. Anyone can write an e-book. There's courses and tutorials a plenty showing you how to get started. It's helped open to door to publication and give budding writers experience that they otherwise might never have gained. E-books are generally cheaper, than physical books (if not free), making it more economic, once you have the actual Kindle. It's also easier to click download than it is for some people to get to a book shop. If I had to physically go to a book shop, I probably wouldn't have as many books as I do now. It's also that instant gratification you get when you can download a book, and in less than a minute start reading it. It's just quick, simple and easy.

Despite all this, I'm still undecided. Although I've upgraded to a Kindle, I still haven't stopped buying physical books. If a book is by one of my favorite authors or I'm pre-ordering it, I'll usually opt for the physical rather than the digital. But why? No matter how many pro's a Kindle might have, it still can't replicate physically holding a book. As I said previously, whilst I downloaded my textbooks, I also bought the physical copies for home too. No fancy features beat being able to physically highlight, underline and write notes on the pages. Sometimes you need to step away from technology. I spend all day at work on a computer, I spend quite a lot of time at home on a computer, even my phone is basically a computer. Reading on an e-reader is essentially reading from a computer. I like reading because it gives me time to relax and switch off. Whilst it's great to be able to relax anywhere with a Kindle, the physical book allows you to take a step back and escape from all things electronic without getting distracted. 

Kindle books have made reading more effiecent than ever before, but maybe that's not good thing. Many people enjoy reading because they can do it in their own time, without feeling the need to rush. Being able to access so many books so quickly can make you feel like you should be speed reading rather than relaxing. Personally, I think there's a time and place for both formats and don't think we'll see the end of hardbacks just yet. 

What's your opinion on Ink vs IT? Love or lothe e-books?
xoxo
J
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Monday, 11 May 2015

Facing The Sun

face tanning bronzing pale skin


As a pale girl, getting a tan is a bit of a novelty and like most females, I don't want to stick out like a sore thumb when I'm on my holiday. Thankfully the beauty world have stepped there game up over recent years, and I can feel right at home with all the sun worshipers. 

The first thing I've been using is the new St. Tropez Self Tan Luxe Face Oil (*). You might remember my rave review from last year about the St. Tropez Luxe Oil (*), which is designed for your body so it's no suprise that this is equally as good. I find most facial tanners are quite heavy on your skin and cause more problems than tanning solutions. This one is super lightweight and moisturising, feeling very similar to a normal facial oil. I was so suprised that it didn't feel greasy on my skin and it glided over my pores and dry patches instead of clinging to them. The tan it gives is initally a sublte sunkissed low and can easily be built up to your preference. 

Make up wise, I swear by two products to create a bronzed illusion. You can use the Bourjois Bronzing Primer for a couple of things. If you have a darker skin tone than me, you can use it as a bronzing primer. Perfect if your done your fake tan on your body slightly too dark. However, if your quite pale, you may be best using this as a cream contour. Slightly darker than my usual contour, the mousse consistency makes it easy to create perfect cheek bones, and blends smoothly. Oh, and the chocolate scent, well it makes it a dream to use. I've been teaming this contour with The Balm's Betty-Lou Manizer. A soft golden highlighter, it catches the light perfectly, making you look like you've spent the entire day on the beach. The powder is super silky and rather than glitter particles, the shimmer is extremely subtle, giving a very natural, luminizing finish.

Have you tried any of these products? What are your favorite bronzing products?
xoxo
J
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Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Duty-free Wish List





This time next week I will be high in the sky on my way for a week of r & r in Crete. Having never been to Greece I'm so excited to go somewhere completely new and experience everything the island has to offer.

Whilst I can't wait to lie by the pool and explore as much as possible, I will admit to be being rather excited about duty-free shopping. Having not been abroad in a good couple of years, I'm planning to make up for lost time and have the haul of all hauls. In preparation for this pre-holiday excitement I've been looking at my blogger shopping list (anyone else make these?) and decided on a couple of things I just can't leave behind.

I think it goes without saying that I will be stocking up on perfume, and Miss Dior, Flower Bomb and Jimmy Choo are right at the top of my list. With all being on the pricey side, I'm hoping the savings I will make in Duty Free will soothe my conscious, if not my purse. Makeup wise, I'll probably be glued to the MAC counter for longer than my actual flight. If I manage to drag myself away I'll be picking up the Lancome Miracle Cushion, Estee Lauder Little Black Primer and an airport exclusive Benefit set, just for good measure.

I'm still finalising my wishlist and would love to know what you think I should pick up. What are you recommendations?
xoxo
J
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Friday, 1 May 2015

Joma Jewellery


Bracelet (*) - £12.50


The Joma 'A little' collection is my new go-to for all gifts. From baby showers and weddings to birthdays, exams and pick-me-ups, there is something to suit every occasion that you need to buy a gift for. 

I was first introduced to the brand by my mum, who bought me this lovely little bracelet when I started my new job. It was all wrapped up in a cute white bag, with a white ribbon which added the finishing touch. I absolutely love the cute little quotes on the cards that come with the jewellery. It might be slightly Pinterest but there's nothing better than receiving a little gesture with a few kind words thrown in. As for the bracelet, well it's beautiful. The Dreamcatcher is an elasticated sweetie style bracelet with a small dreamcatcher charm. It's very subtle and super-lightweight but makes me smile every time I wear it. As I said in the intro, there's so many options in this range, and not just in terms of occasions. Necklaces and earrings in different styles are also included in the range so their is something to suit all tastes. From a price perspective, these are great for small gestures and once wrapped up, they look a lot more expensive.

What's your gift go-to?
xoxo
J
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